The Ministry of Tourism of the Maldives is organising a free concert in the capital city Malé for the 8th January with the acclaimed Senegalese-born and current US-based R&B and hip hop artist Akon.
The event was announced through a video message from Akon which was shown during the Tourist Arrival Countdown show held on New Year’s Eve where two Indian Bollywood musicians Salim – Sulaiman performed.
This is the second attempt by the four time grammy nominated artist to perform in the Maldives. The first attempt was in 2010 which was cancelled after the tickets were sold saying the technical assistance and security measures were not up to par.
The 2010 performance attempt was hugely opposed by the then Islamic Ministry and several religious groups. Speaking in response to public discord over two Indian musicians playing in the Maldives on New Year’s Eve and Akon’s performance scheduled for Thursday to the local daily newspaper Haveeru, Tourism Minister Adeeb said that foreign artists and musicians are invited to perform in the Maldives as a means to promote tourism and has nothing to do with religion and that they are simply a means to promote Maldives as a brand.
He also said “These shows are for promoting Maldives’ tourism. While the entire world has started to see Malé City as a lair that harbours members of the Islamic State or extremist militants, foreign artists performing here will show the world what the situation here is truly like. Maldives does not belong to the Islamic State.”
Akon’s announcement to perform in Maldives comes after Jamaican Grammy Award winning International star Sean Paul – who was supposed to perform during Tourism Arrival Countdown Show 2014 – cancelled at the last minute after a YouTube video was released threatening the artist with death if he performed in the Maldives.