The Italian Almanac

Andrea Bocelli in concert

Italian News / Music - March 23

A star-studded concert featuring Italian artistes like Andrea Bocelli, Claudio Baglioni and Zucchero has raised 1 million for the UN refugee agency's work for victims of the conflict and tsunami in Sri Lanka.

"Music for Asia: Not to Forget" drew a galaxy of Italian stars together for the first time to raise funds for a humanitarian crisis. Some 10,000 people turned up at the FilaForum of Assago in Milan to support the event, which was organised by Media Friend.

Among the highlights of the three-hour concert were a piano and guitar duet by Bocelli and Mario Rejes, and a virtual duet by Zucchero and the late Miles Davis. The artists, who also included Alexia, Biagio Antonacci, Gigi D'Alessio, DJ Francesco, Negrita and Velvet, were accompanied by an orchestra conducted by maestros Fio Zanotti, Lucio Fabbri and Peppe Vessicchio.

By the end of the concert, 1 million had been raised through ticket sales and donations through credit cards, SMS and landlines. "It was quite revolutionary how the small donations through SMS and phones expanded the width of our donor base," said UNHCR's Lionello Boscardi.

"This first joint effort between UNHCR and Media Friends was very successful and we hope to continue such cooperation in the future," said Boldrini. Media Friends is part of Mediaset, the media group owned by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.