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Jerry Dammers pays tribute to Nelson Mandela with special performance

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Dec 07, 2013 | 8:59am EST

The Specials founding member Jerry Dammers has paid tribute to Nelson Mandela with a unique instrumental performance of his 1984 track, Free Nelson Mandela. The song, originally performed by The Specials AKA, became a rallying call for the global movement demanding Mandela's release from prison, which was granted in 1990 amid civil unrest in his native South Africa. Dammers gathered his current ensemble, the Spatial AKA Orchestra, to perform a special rendition of the track on Britain's Channel 4 news on Friday night (06Dec13), a day after the political hero passed away at the age of 95. Writing in the Daily Mirror newspaper following Mandela's death on Thursday night (05Dec13), Dammers stated, "I hope Free Nelson Mandela is still a rallying cry and people can relate to what it stood for, because one of the best ways we could remember Nelson Mandela is to listen to what he actually said. A lot of politicians are going to pay tribute to him, but if they actually listened to what he said, about freeing people from the prison of poverty, and acted on it, that would be the best tribute of all." The civil rights icon served 27 years in prison after he was convicted of conspiracy to overthrow the government following a sabotage campaign calling for an end to apartheid.

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