Could This Be The Strangest Musical Event Ever?

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Indian film composer, record producer, musician and singer A. R. Rahman

Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images

Here’s a sentence you never expected to read: The Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo in December is going to rock! No, really.

The line-up for the event has been released and, frankly, an indie festival would love to boast the likes of — deep breath required — Jamiroquai, India.Arie, Florence + The Machine, Herbie Hancock, Robyn, Elvis Costello and Oscar winning singer songwriter A.R. Rahman. And you know how every festival always has the kitsch act to liven up proceedings and totally steal the show? Well, our friends in Norway have you covered. No less a legend than Barry Manilow will be performing and, naturally, blowing the roof off the Nobel house.

(See pictures of Obama accepting last year’s Nobel Peace Prize.)

Denzel Washington is the host of the 17th such concert and, apparently, it will be broadcast around the world (though presumably not live because the planet might not be able to take such star power in one go). It marks quite the departure from earlier shows, which have tended to focus on classical music. Indeed, one such event — the Nobel Prize show in Stockholm, Sweden, which differs from the Nobel Peace Prize show — consisted of Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major (well, obviously), Shostakovich’s Festive Overture and Suite from Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev. That said, last year’s Peace Prize show had the likes of Wyclef Jean, Donna Summer and Toby Keith so perhaps we should have seen this coming.

(See the top 10 albums of 2009.)

And the 2010 gig — and nobody ever uses that term in reference to Nobel — is nothing if not eclectic. In fact, NewsFeed won’t now be surprised if this year’s recipient of the peace laureate, imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, somehow manages to make it along and jam with the musicians on stage.