Gorillaz play in Syria but boycott Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, July 26, 2010
Damon Albarn said he hoped the concert promoted "dialogue"

Damon Albarn said he hoped the concert promoted "dialogue"

Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn has told of his delight at performing in Syria just weeks after the band boycotted an Israel concert.

The singer said it had been “a wonderful experience” for Gorillaz to be the first high profile British band to play in Damascus.

Mr Albarn, who shot to fame in the 1990s with indie band Blur, told the BBC that he was “surprised” no other big Western band had performed in the Arab capital before.

The concert, at an 11th century citadel in the city, was a one-off show which also featured two former members of the Clash and the National Orchestra for Arabic Music.

Mr Albarn said he hoped the performance was “the beginning of a dialogue” for Syria.

Yet in June the Gorillaz disappointed Israeli fans with a last-minute cancellation of their slot at a Tel Aviv music festival.

They had been due to headline the Pic.Nic festival, but pulled out without explanation following the clash on the Gaza-bound flotilla.

They are just one of a series of bands who have boycotted scheduled concerts in Israel in recent months. Elvis Costello and the Pixies also pulled out of performances amid pressure from pro-Palestinian activists.

Last updated: 4:52pm, July 26 2010