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Yoko Ono, Thurston Moore Take The Stage To Aid Kosovo
May 18, 1999

Sean Lennon among performers to play New York club Sunday to benefit refugees.

NEW YORK -- Experimental rock performers Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth and Yoko Onoare set to cross paths Sunday at the first in what is expected to be a series of monthly benefitconcerts to aid Kosovo refugees and their families.

The benefit for victims of the situation in Kosovo will be held at the popular nightclub the KnittingFactory, according to Guy Compton, the club's promotions director.

"We are planning on doing this for as long as it takes," Compton said about the proposed benefit series. The next one is being planned for late June.

Ono and Moore, playing as a duo, are expected to be one of the highlights of Sunday's performance. Compton said Ono also will be teaming up at the show with singer/songwriter Sean Lennon, her son with late Beatle John Lennon. The mother and son also performed together at another high-profile charity event, the 1996 Tibetan Freedom Concert, which was held in San Francisco to raise awareness about the Chinese occupation of Tibet.

Compton said proceeds from the Knitting Factory concert will be used to support the Kosova Relief Fund, a volunteer-based organization that works to assist refugees in Macedonia and Albania and to help people find family members victimized by the crisis.

"They're getting [all the proceeds]. Our staff is working that night for free," Compton said. Tickets cost $20; the club holds up to 450 people.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization continues its bombing of Yugoslavia that began in late March. Meanwhile, allegations in the media report that the country's Serbian leadership has stepped up its aggression toward ethnic Albanians living in the province of Kosovo.

Jeton Ademaj, who is coordinating the concert on behalf of the Kosova Relief Fund, said the organization has raised approximately $100,000 since the bombing campaign began. It spells Kosova with an "a," he said, because "90 percent of the people who live there have spelled it that way for the last 1,200 years."

Ono, who performed with the Japanese pop group Cibo Matto on New Year's Eve at the legendary CBGB's nightclub in New York, is an avant-garde artist whose music has influenced a cross section of songwriters and performers. Last year she helped oversee the production of the recently released box set The John Lennon Anthology. Her son is Cibo Matto's touring bassist, and his live-in girlfriend, Yuka Honda, is the band's keyboardist.

As for Moore, the leader of the New York art-rock band Sonic Youth remixed Ono's song "Rising" in 1996. Moore and his bandmates in Sonic Youth received critical accolades a decade ago for their work on the album Daydream Nation, which included the powerful, melodic rock tune "Teenage Riot".

The rest of the lineup for the upcoming benefit includes such local performers as drummer Joey Baron, guitarist Glen Branca and rock duo Damon and Naomi.

Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth, initially comprising of guitarist / vocalists Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, guitarist / bassist / vocalist Kim Gordon and drummer Richard Edson, were formed in New York City in 1981. A product of the No-Wave music scene of the late 1970s, the group had their roots in abrasive, experimental music, with Moore and Ranaldo having previously worked with the experimental composer Glenn Branca. The band were joined in 1985 by drummer Steve Shelley, and have now recorded 14 albums together, as well as many side and solo projects. Their work has been consistently challenging and innovative, and they are widely regarded as one of the most intriguing and influential bands of their time.


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