Entertainment

Mika says some in Beirut are ‘tremendously' in need ahead of benefit concert

I Heart Beirut takes place on Saturday.

Mika has said there are people in Beirut who are “tremendously” in need ahead of a benefit concert he is putting on in aid of the city.

The singer has organised the I Heart Beirut event, which will feature stars including Kylie Minogue, Salma Hayek and Rufus Wainwright.

The fundraiser follows an explosion in the port of the Lebanese city last month which killed nearly 200 people.

Tilda Swinton receives BFI Fellowship – London
(Ian West/PA)

Mika, who was born in the city, said: “Lebanon has always been present in my home and in my family background.”

He added that the influence of the country has “never really left” his life.

“It was really those emotional links, the family background that meant those videos provoked such a strong reaction in me when I saw then, just like so many other Lebanese from around the world,” he told the PA news agency.

He said there are some people in the city that are “tremendously” in need of support.

V Festival 2010 – Chelmsford
(Yui Mok/PA)

The singer added that political instability in Lebanon “is all exacerbated by this astonishing explosion”.

The wider instability in the country can detract from the plight of the “people that are really there”.

He added: “What we are trying to do, being musician and artists and actors and actresses, is just for an hour and 45 minutes we can turn off the political conversation and reply using music and do our jobs, which is to provoke emotion and empathy.”

The Fashion Awards 2018 – London
(Ian West/PA)

Money raised by the concert will be split between the Lebanese Red Cross and Save The Children.

Mika said it has been “really great to see” small private donations coming in to his fundraiser from locations including Holland, Japan and Chicago.

The concert takes place on Saturday on YouTube at 8pm.

Actresses Danna Paola and Fanny Ardant, singers Louane and Laura Pausini and poet Etel Adnan will also feature in the event.

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