Cape Town roars to the sound of Brian May and Kerry Ellis

Date: 29 Mar 2012


Pride of Cape Town got off to a glittering start last night with a stunning and memorable performance by Queen rock legend Brian May CBE and the West End and Broadway singing sensation Kerry Ellis – backed by a heartfelt and moving speech by Virginia McKenna OBE, Actress and Founder of wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation.

The excitement and build up to the launch of Pride of Cape Town and the official unveiling of the lion sculptures has been immense, not least since it was the first time that the legendary May had performed in South Africa since 2005 for the historic 46664 music concert, in aid of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

As the sun set on the Grand Café & Beach close to the historic V&A Waterfront, the atmosphere was electric, as May, using all his mastery, struck the first chords of the first of three tracks performed on the night. Alongside May’s hypnotic guitar came glamorous songstress Kerry Ellis, with her glorious power-packed and pure vocals.

First performed was ‘I Loved a Butterfly’, an upbeat melodic track from Brian and Kerry’s ‘Anthems’ album. Then to the delight of the Cape Town crowd came a beautiful acoustic version of the John Barry and Don Black classic ‘Born Free’. After rapturous applause the ecstatic audience were further treated to Queen classic ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ as an encore and to complete the set.

Brian said, “It was a magical evening and Kerry and I really loved playing in such an intimate venue and at such a stunning location, everyone there seemed to really enjoy it. Importantly, they loved the lions and we have been inundated with people and companies wanting to sponsor them.”

The invited audience were there to see the first unveiling of a selection of the Pride of Cape Town fibreglass lion sculptures that will take to the V&A Waterfront in Summer next year and showcase the project to individuals and businesses wishing to come on board and sponsor a lion.

Four spectacular lions were showcased, sponsored by Land Rover, Redbush Tea, SAA (South African Airways) and the Grand Café & Beach.

The Land Rover Design team in Gaydon chose a geometrically creative design with vehicle-based outlines. Redbush produced a tea bag inspired art work created by Original T -Bag Designs at Hout bay, detailing traditional Xhosa art. SAA opted for a bright red lion and blue mane with a worldwide travel theme and the Grand Africa lion looked regal with its golden crown filled with vibrant red flowers.

There was also an announcement made on the night about the ‘People’s Lion’, where everyone who makes a donation great or small will have their name inscribed on that particular lion.

Kerry said, “Be part of something special and make a big difference, send what you can.”

Virginia McKenna summed it up, “It was one of the most memorable nights of my life and such an enormous privilege to be here to see the brilliant Brian May and Kerry Ellis perform. The people and business community of Cape Town have taken the lions to their hearts and welcomed us and this wonderful initiative in the most kind and generous manner. It has been an unforgettable evening. The Pride of Cape Town will make a crucial difference to our work as we fight to save lions from possible extinction.”

Virginia continued, “As we focus on the present we must not forget the past. The Born Free story, George and Joy Adamson and Elsa the lioness inspire us to this day. And the words and music of the Born Free song must surely touch even the hardest of hearts. A world without wild animals would be a poor world indeed and we at Born Free are all hearing the warning bells. Pride of Cape Town is a crucial and powerful part of our action plan and I am grateful to be part of it.”

Pride of Cape Town has now officially launched and the magnificent lions are set to ‘prowl’ the streets of the V&A Waterfront in 2013! Keep up to date with all the news from Brian, Kerry and Virginia and the magnificent lions – including a free prize draw to win a trip for two to the award winning Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape which is part of Shamwari Group and home to the Born Free centre.

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