'Sound of Peace': German pop stars play at peace demo

19 Mar

It's not supposed to be a concert, but a musical peace rally.

On Sunday in Berlin, some of Germany's most successful pop stars will get together for peace under the motto "Sound of Peace" in front of the city's landmark, the Brandenburg Gate.

The bands include Silbermond, pop-rock band Revolverheld, The BossHoss and Fortuna Ehrenfeld, while Peter Maffay, Sarah Connor, Adel Tawil, Zoe Wees and Joris are among the solo acts. The latter called on his fans via Instagram to show up in large numbers at the rally: "We all stand together, that's what we can do. Against the war and for peace." With their performance, the musicians want to send a loud signal against the war in Ukraine. The message is clear: "Stop the war!"

Ukrainian singer Natalia Klitschko, the wife of Kyiv mayor and ex-professional boxer Vitali Klitschko, is scheduled to speak at the rally, according to organizers. She and the couple's children live in Hamburg, while her husband is fighting on the front lines in Ukraine with his brother, Wladimir Klitschko. She has spoken at peace demonstrations several times since the war began, and most recently sang at a solidarity concert at the Hamburg State Opera.

Celebrities from the German pop scene

The "Sound of Peace" initiative, which describes itself as an alliance of solidarity for the culture sector, organized the rally, and quickly gathered the support of well-known pop stars.

Several dozen German celebrities from the culture sector are supporting the alliance off-stage, too, including German musician Henning May, crime novelist Sebastian Fitzek, Ukrainian singer Svyatoslav Vakarchuk and the Syrian Expat Philharmonic Orchestra, a symphony orchestra of Syrian musicians in exile.

Music, the alliance writes on its website, is in a position to unite people all over the world and to build bridges like no other medium can.

Call for donations

"Sound of Peace" wants to "set a strong and unmistakable symbol for peace, human rights and democracy" with the demo, while also stating that racism "must not get a place in any form, neither at the borders nor anywhere else."

The campaign also aims to raise funds for humanitarian relief efforts to support victims of the war in Ukraine, to be distributed to various charitable organizations.

For all non-Berliners, the event will be broadcast by German TV stations ProSieben and Sat.1, and via live stream. People can also donate online on the website of "Sound of Peace."

'Stand up for peace'

The German government also backed the peace rally in Berlin. Claudia Roth, Germany's Minister of State for Culture, said in a letter to the organizers made available to the German press agency, dpa, that she wholeheartedly supports "Culture for peace — and against the aggression of Putin's regime, solidarity with Ukraine, but also with the many people in Russia, especially from the arts, culture and media, who have the courage to speak out against the war and stand up for peace."

"Music can always be a voice to formulate protest, but also to create cohesion and fill hearts," Revolverheld's Johannes Strate told dpa, adding that's why it's important for music to be part of such a movement. Life hasn't been the same for a few weeks, he added — first thing in the morning, people turn to the news, frightened, to learn about whatever terrible things have happened during the night.

"That's why we didn't hesitate for a second when the 'Sound of Peace' idea came up. I hope that on Sunday we will set a beautiful signal for peace and love."

Author Maria John Sánchez

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