Before LIVE AID and BAND AID, there was George Harrison’s 1971 Concert for Bangladesh. It was a Concert that alerted the world to the plight of Bangladeshis fighting a War of Independence.
Now 34 years later that Concert is available on DVD for the first time and it coincides with the formation of the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF – both of which will continue to raise money for UNICEF and the people of Bangladesh.
“What was so great about the Concert for Bangladesh was that it brought together an extraordinary assemblage of major artists collaborating for a common humanitarian cause – setting the precedent that music could be used to serve a higher purpose,” said UNICEF Representative Louis-Georges Arsenault.
“The Concert is a pivotal event in the history of this country. This Concert alerted the world to what was happening and it also raised 15 million dollars for UNICEF and the people of Bangladesh,” Mr Arsenault said.
Ravi Shankar, the famous Indian musician, was so concerned about his fellow Bengalis that he persuaded his friend George Harrison to stage two concerts on August 1st in Madison Square Garden in New York.
The Concerts brought together some of the biggest names in rock music: George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton. Many of the entertainers who took part in the event are still alive and they will continue to donate 100 per cent of their royalties to UNICEF.
The generosity of George Harrison continues with the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF which has just been announced by his widow, Olivia Harrison. This fund will specifically target UNICEF Bangladesh programs, but also provide lifesaving assistance to children suffering from civil conflict, natural disasters and poverty. Mrs Harrison, opened the fund with an initial US$1 million donation.
To co-incide with the release of the DVD, there is also a new documentary about the background to the two shows with exclusive interviews with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Sir Bob Geldof.