DMC raps in Aspen for Action in Africa |

DMC raps in Aspen for Action in Africa

John Colson
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Rapper DMC, of the hip-hop group Run-DMC, performs a benefit concert for the Aspen High School club Action in Africa, Friday at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen. (Jonathan Mannion)

ASPEN ” The plight of millions of Africans has received considerable attention in Aspen in recent times, and that continues with Friday’s DMC concert at the Wheeler Opera House.

The famed rapper will perform in conjunction with an Aspen Writer’s Foundation talk by noted author Ishmael Beah, a former child soldier dragooned into the army in his home country of Sierra Leone (see related story).

Sponsored by the Aspen High School service club, Action In Africa, the DMC show is to raise money for relief projects in Uganda, a war-ravaged nation that the club has helped in the past.

The evening’s offerings will include some opening acts starting at 9 p.m., including a concert by the high school band, The Bolsheviks, from 9 to roughly 9:30 p.m., followed by a 10-minute performance by a mystery guest who is “a pretty big name” and is “nationally known,” according to club sponsor Lance Finkbeiner. He said he could not divulge the name of the mystery guest.

The mystery performance will be followed by the Aspen African Dance Connection, a tribute to Africa performed by a troupe of Aspen High School dancers, and a talk by David Ssejinja, director of two orphanages that will benefit from the proceeds of the night’s musical entertainment.

Finkbeiner explained that Ssejinja runs the Ssejinja Children’s’ Foundation, which has set up two refugee orphanages in Uganda, a nation plagued by civil strife. The money raised by Action in Africa on Friday is to go for mattresses for the orphanage dormitories, and to build a library for each dormitory.

As an added treat for concertgoers, Finkbeiner said, Beah will introduce DMC to the audience for a performance that is scheduled to begin at about 10 p.m.

Beah mentioned rap music, several rappers and Run-DMC in particular in his best-selling book about his time as a child soldier and its effects on his life, “A Long Way Gone.” Beah and his friends were intrigued by the music and would mime it, dance to it and sing it in small performances in their villages, he wrote.

“They’re going to meet for the first time, which he [Beah] is very excited about,” Finkbeiner said.

Action in Africa, which was formed in the 2006-’07 school year, is dedicated to raising money for, and awareness about, the plight of children in war-torn parts of Africa.

Among its activities so far are the airing of the internationally acclaimed documentary film, “Invisible Children,” about child soldiers in Uganda, and instigating a day of silence at Aspen High School and Aspen Middle School, also to raise money for African relief efforts.

Tickets to the DMC show are $80.

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