News / Arts & Entertainment

Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams Head Line-up at Montreux Jazz

FILE - Stevie Wonder (C) performs the Daft Punk's song "Get Lucky" with Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers (L) at the 56th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, Jan. 26, 2014
FILE - Stevie Wonder (C) performs the Daft Punk's song "Get Lucky" with Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers (L) at the 56th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, Jan. 26, 2014
Reuters
— Stevie Wonder will headline the Montreux Jazz Festival, fulfilling a longtime wish of its late founder Claude "Funky" Nobs, in its 48th edition which also brings red-hot Pharrell Williams to its famed stage.

The line-up for the July 4-19 festival, unveiled on Thursday, includes former Blur front man Damon Albarn, hip-hop duo Outkast, the veteran Van Morrison, Massive Attack, and R&B Californian newcomer Banks.

Nobs, who died after a ski accident in Jan. 2013, tried to bring Wonder to Montreux, one of Europe's most prestigious summer music festivals, but the one million Swiss franc ($1.13 million) purse was out of reach at the time.

At the presentation, Mauritian pianist Jerry Leonide, who opens for French drummer Manu Katche on July 14, played a few bars of "Superstition" as Wonder's name flashed on an electric board.

"We tried to get Stevie many times. This time we made a collective offer through the International Jazz Festival Organization, along with Istanbul and North Sea in Denmark," Montreux festival director Mathieu Jaton told Reuters.

Seats for Wonder's concert at Stravinsky Auditorium on July 16 go on sale on Friday for a whopping 450 Swiss francs ($510), with standing places at 185 Swiss francs. Tickets for Williams' show on July 7 will cost either 135 or 370 Swiss francs.

American producer Quincy Jones, co-director with Nobs in the 1990s, calls Montreux the "Rolls-Royce" of festivals. This year's budget is 25 million Swiss francs for the event that draws some 250,000 fans to the lakeside resort.

"Get Lucky," "Happy"

Pharrell Williams, booked for July 7, features on Daft Punk's dance track "Get Lucky" with Nile Rodgers, which won the record of the year at the Grammy Awards in January.

He is still on the airwaves with "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke, who plays Montreux on July 13, and Williams' upbeat R&B hit "Happy", the lead song from the "Despicable Me 2" animated film for which he composed the music.

"You hear Pharrell Williams everywhere on the radio and television. He has produced incredible pieces. He is the artist we had to get this year," Jaton told Reuters.

"Happy" returned to the top of Britain's music charts for the third time on March 2, becoming the first single in 57 years to do so, the Official Charts Company said.

Chris Rea returns to the Montreux stage for the first time in 14 years on July 5, Morrison plays on July 15, and Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter are booked for July 18. Mexican duo Rodrigo & Gabriela open on July 8 for Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin fame.

"Hard rock brought them together," Jaton said of the unusual double bill.

The festival's archives of nearly 6,000 hours of music contained on 10,000 recording tapes are being digitised to preserve the history of Montreux concerts by jazz giants including Miles Davis, Ray Charles and B.B. King.

"The digitizing is nearly done. The archives were recognized by UNESCO last year as part of the world's cultural heritage," Jaton said. "We have the same spirit and way of doing things, but of course we miss Claude."
 
($1 = 0.8860 Swiss francs)

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

New Orleans-based Water Seed joins Shawna Renee inside the "Soul Lounge" where they introduce listeners to their latest album, a wonderful fusion of jazz, soul and rhythm & blues. The group also explains how the heart of New Orleans influences each of them as musicians and songwriters.