April 2007 Archives

Jason O'Brien

Rock band U2 now have an estimated collective fortune of (EU)715m...but even that huge wealth is only enough to secure 20th position on this year's Irish Rich List.

The full list will be published on Sunday and is again expected to be topped by Dublin-born model Hilary Weston, who married into a retailing dynasty in Canada and has an estimated fortune of (EU)7bn.

But the fall of Bono and the boys from 13th position on the list -- despite earning more than (EU)25m last year from their Vertigo tour -- highlights the increasing competition at the top of the Irish rich list.

A number of property magnates are understood to have overtaken U2, and the number of Irish billionaires has also increased from last year's total of seven.

Quinn Group chairman Sean Quinn and Independent Newspapers chairman Sir Anthony O'Reilly are believed to be among the top three richest. However, the four U2 band members -- who split their earnings with manager Paul McGuinness -- continue to top the separate list of Irish music entertainers, which was released yesterday.

Lord of the Dance star Michael Flatley is the runner-up with his estimated (EU)550m fortune. He is followed by reclusive singer Enya, who was Ireland's best-selling artist last year and saw her personal fortune top (EU)112m. Others on the list include Van Morrison (EU74m), Bob Geldof (EU51m), and Chris de Burgh (EU46m).

American Idol Raises $30M for Charity

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NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Television singing talent show "American Idol" proved its clout as a U.S. cultural phenomenon on Wednesday by raising more than $30 million for young people in Africa and the United States.

A two-hour show filled with inspirational songs, movie, television and music stars and stories of poverty from Africa and the United States rounded off the two-night special.

"People say you can't be the generation that ends brutal, stupid poverty, but we can and we will," Bono, U2's lead singer and leading spokesman for the ONE Campaign to Make Poverty History, said in a prerecorded segment.

"I have been in front of 70,000 people here in L.A. and its a pretty amazing feeling. I can't think of any feeling better except perhaps the feeling that you can save somebody's life and there is not one person watching this program tonight who cannot save a life," he said.

The six Idol contestants closed the "Idol Gives Back" show with "American Prayer" -- the song written by Bono and Dave Stewart some years ago about the AIDS emergency in Africa.

The show's contestants received more than 70 million votes -- a new record and almost double last week's 38 million -- but the so-called "shocking" result promoted by host Ryan Seacrest was that none of the remaining six contestants were voted off.

Each vote cast by viewers via text and telephone triggered an undisclosed donation to charities by the corporate sponsors of "Idol" -- Ford, Coca-Cola and AT&T. News Corp., which owns the Fox TV network, donated $5 million after the vote tally hit 50 million.

According to Superhero Hype!, a new musical based on Spider-Man may soon be weaving a web over Broadway audiences.

A casting notice reveals that the musical, soon to be presented in an Equity 29-hour rehearsed reading, will be directed by Tony Award-winner Julie Taymor, with music and lyrics by U2's Bono and The Edge and a book by Taymor and Glen Berger.

The reading will also feature musical supervision by Teese Gohl. Hello Entertainment/David Garfinkle, Martin McCallum, and Marvel Entertainment are the producers. Rehearsals will begin on July 2nd in New York City, while the readings will take place on July 12th and 13th.

Producers are casting for the title role of teen superhero Peter Parker, as well as his sweetheart Mary Jane, the powerful spider-woman Arachne, scientist Norman Osborn (whose villainous alter ego is the Green Goblin), Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson and a Geek Chorus, comprised of three teenage boys and one girl "who meet to ritualistically retell the greatest Spider-Man stories."

Created in 1962 and clad in his signature bewebbed blue and red, Spider-Man first appeared as a Marvel Comics superhero. The franchise has since spawned a TV series, syndicated newspaper comics and a blockbuster series of films directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. The third Spider-Man movie will be released on May 4th.

Taymor, who won a Tony Award for directing the Broadway musical The Lion King and who is also known for equally visually imaginative films such as Titus and Frida, helmed the recent Metropolitan Opera production of The Magic Flute, as well as productions such as Juan Darien, The Tempest, and Oedipus Rex.

Copyright © 2007 BroadwayWorld.com. All rights reserved.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country chairs the G-8 conference, assured Bono that Africa will play "an outstanding role" during this year's meeting.

BERLIN (AP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel told U2's Bono on Tuesday that the future of Africa will play a major role when Group of Eight leaders meet in June, the government said.
Bono met Merkel at the chancellery to press his call for the continent to remain high on the agenda of the world's leading industrial countries. Germany, which chairs the G-8, will host their annual summit in the Baltic sea resort of Heiligendamm.

Merkel pledged that Africa will play "an outstanding role," with a focus on issues such as improving the climate for investment, a government spokeswoman said on customary condition of anonymity.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair made debt relief for Africa a key issue when he hosted the G-8 summit in 2005, and has called for a redoubling of momentum this year.

Bono has echoed that call, saying at January's annual meeting of the World Economic Forum: "Africa is this magical, extraordinary continent and we've got to start describing it more as an opportunity than a burden."

The Edge to Get Honorary Degree from Berklee

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Music stars to get honorary degrees

Latin pop star Gloria Estefan and U2 guitarist The Edge will receive honorary doctorates from the Berklee College of Music, in Boston, US, at its graduation ceremony next month.

The music school also will present honorary degrees to Estefan's husband, Emilio, and Chicago jazz pianist and composer Andrew Hill.

Berklee spokesman Allen Bush said the musicians were chosen for honorary doctorates based on their achievements in music and contributions to American and international culture.

Gloria Estefan, who has sold 70 million albums worldwide and won fame as the leader of the Miami Sound Machine in the 1980s, will deliver her commencement speech to 850 graduates on May 12 in the 7,000-seat Agganis Arena.

Past recipients of honorary doctorates from Berklee include Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Aretha Franklin, David Bowie and Bonnie Raitt.

Copyright © 2007 Yahoo. All rights reserved.

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by Brenda Clemons, U2 Station Staff Writer

Why is it so important to dig wells?

Rob Trigalet, Vice Chairperson of the African Well Fund: Everyday thousands of people in Africa, some of them children, die from illnesses due to the lack of clean water. What I'm talking about is people dying just because they have diarrhea or parasites, not AIDS or malaria, but a bug or a stomach virus. In the west, this would not be tolerated. 10 or 13 people getting sick from lettuce at Taco Bell is national front page news. So, wells are easy and inexpensive to do and that's why the African Well Fund thinks it is important. Because it's something we can do, so we feel that we should.

How many wells have you built so far?

Our last total was 43 water projects but we are waiting on several reports to come in for projects that are nearly complete.

Were you surprised at the amount of money U2 fans have donated over the years?

Absolutely. The first year we asked for donations (2003), our hope was to raise enough money to build one well. We ended up building 13 in Uganda with our first fund drive and have raised over $200,000 since inception. We here at AWF think that U2 fans ROCK!

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