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Stars shine for Haiti

Bono and Colin Farrell were among the galaxy of stars who pitched in during a celeb-studded transatlantic telethon to raise money for devastated Haiti.

Coldplay's Chris Martin joined fellow rock and pop royalty Bono, Jay-Z and Beyonce in London for the broadcast, with dozens of other celebrities, including Madonna and Justin Timberlake, pleading for donations in the US.

In New York, dozens of the biggest names in film and music joined those in London to sing in sombre tones and urge the world to donate to earthquake-stricken Haiti at a benefit led by actor George Clooney and Haiti-born rapper Wyclef Jean.

The two-hour telethon, called Hope For Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief, was shown around the world on television, online and mobile carriers, and featured more than 100 celebrities performing from New York and Los Angeles, as well as those in London.





Millions

Ex-Police frontman Sting sang in New York and comedian Russell Brand also helped man the phonelines in Los Angeles alongside Hollywood A-listers like Jennifer Aniston, Mel Gibson and Jack Nicholson.

The celebrity phone bank appeared to be continuously busy with donation calls during the show, and it is hoped tens of millions of pounds will be raised for the aid effort.

R'n'B singer Alicia Keys kicked off the two-hour broadcast with a performance of her song Prelude To A Kiss.

Setting a sombre tone for the evening, she sang: "Can you send me an angel to guide me?"

George Clooney, who helped organise the two-hour telecast, told viewers: "The Haitian people need our help. They need to know that they are not alone. They need to know that we still care."

Then, after an impassioned plea from actress Halle Berry, rocker Bruce Springsteen dedicated a song for the impoverished Caribbean state -- We Shall Overcome.

In London, Chris Martin backed Beyonce on piano as she revised her hit Halo with new lyrics: "Haiti we can see your halo, we pray you won't fade away."

Jay-Z, Rihanna and Bono and The Edge also debuted a new song, Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour), as Jay-Z rapped: "When the sky falls, and the earth quakes, we can gon' this back together, we won't break."

The telethon, aiming for the largest-ever global audience, featured musical collaborations, tales of loss and survival, and actors taking donations by phone, while the broadcast relayed shocking images and interviews with Haitians affected by the natural disaster.

"Right now we can see the second wave of this disaster coming," Jean said from New York. "My country is in great pain."

Across the Atlantic in New York, Madonna provided one of the few upbeat moments with her choir-backed performance of Like A Prayer and Sting sang a spirited Driven To Tears.

The telethon -- which was also broadcast from Haiti -- was featured on all the major US networks and channels.





Survived

It was also streamed live on sites like YouTube and MySpace and Haitians were able to listen on Radio One Haiti.

Actors including Leonardo DiCaprio, Denzel Washington and Nicole Kidman appeared throughout the broadcast to tell stories of Haitians who had survived under the rubble and the rescue efforts. DiCaprio was one of several stars to donate $1m this week.

The event ended with a call for Haiti's revival by native son, former Fugee Wyclef Jean.

With a Haitian flag wrapped around his neck, he shouted: "Enough of this moping man, let's rebuild Haiti, let's show 'em how we do it where we come from!"

Proceeds from the telethon will be split among relief organisations including the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, the UN World Food Programme, Oxfam America, the Red Cross, UNICEF and Jean's Yele Haiti Foundation.

From today, all the performances will be available to buy on Apple's iTunes.

hnews@herald.ie