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(photo credit: Courtesy Photo)
Global hip-hop giants the Black Eyed Peas will make their second trip to Israel in just over a year for a peace concert organized in part by the Jerusalem Foundation, a publicist for the band confirmed Tuesday. The performance, to be staged under the name "Jerusalem Rocks: A Concert for Peace," is scheduled to take place September 9 at Jerusalem's Teddy Kollek Stadium, and will also feature a performance by millions-selling Irish band the Commitments.
The planned concert marks a return to Israel for the Black Eyed Peas, who performed at Tel Aviv's Bloomfield Stadium in June 2006 before a sell-out crowd of 17,000. "We have been here for five days, and they were the best days of our lives," rapper and songwriter Will.I.Am told Israeli concertgoers. "We love Israel."
The band, which has been on a break for much of the period since its Tel Aviv show, performed Saturday as part of Live Earth, the worldwide concert series organized to promote environmental awareness. The group has also performed in support of efforts to end genocide in Darfur.
Notables on the American hip-hop scene since the late '90s, the Black Eyed Peas achieved worldwide stardom in 2003 with the release of Elephunk, a multi-platinum effort featuring hits including "Hey Mama" and "Where is the Love?"
The group let loose another avalanche of hits in 2005 with the release of Monkey Business, an album containing chart-toppers including "Don't Phunk with My Heart," "Don't Lie" and "Pump It." Another hit off the album, "My Humps," inspired a parody clip by the Canadian pop star Alanis Morrisette, which itself became a minor phenomenon on on-line video-sharing site Youtube.
"Full of Zionist emotion" following their Tel Aviv show, group members have been "looking for the opportunity to come back to Israel," said Moshe Fogel, head of US affairs for the Jerusalem Foundation.
The band will serve as the closing segment of the "Jerusalem Rocks" concert, a seven- or eight-hour affair expected to feature Israeli musicians as warm-up acts, among them Arab performers from the Jerusalem area, Fogel said.
The concert, which would likely sell out Teddy Kollek Stadium's 20,000 seats, will be one of the largest in Jerusalem's history, Fogel said. His organization hopes the show will demonstrate the city's ability to host major performances and draw concertgoers from other parts of Israel, he added.
"We think it'll be an international news story," he said.