Blur frontman Damon Albarn has slammed next month's (JUL05) LIVE 8 charity concerts for being predominantly made up of white artists while raising awareness to combat African poverty.

Albarn is incensed that so few black artists are appearing at the London leg of SIR Bob Geldof's historic event, and that their omission is "the greatest oversight".

Snoop Dogg, Ms Dynamite and YOUSSOU N'DOUR are currently the only black stars confirmed to perform in London on 2 July.

GORILLAZ star Albarn, who in 2002 released the album Mali Music which he recorded with African musicians, is also unconvinced the gigs are the best method of aiding Africa.

During an interview on BBC Radio 4's TODAY show this morning (10JUN05), he said, "No. I am not (taking part). I haven't even been asked. I don't want to take part in an event that is so exclusive. Is this the most effective way to help Africa?'

"This country (the UK) is incredibly diverse. More than ever, black culture is an integral part of society, so why is the bill so damn Anglo-Saxon?

"It's insensitive and it also perpetuates this idea that Africa is separated in some way. In a way Live 8 does that. It doesn't make you feel closer to Africa, it treats it like it's a failing, ill, sick, tired place."

Albarn has also called on record companies to donate any profits their artists make as a result of performing at the Live 8 concerts, which are being staged in London, Berlin, Rome, Paris and Philadelphia on 2 July, while a sixth show will take place in Scotland on 6 July to coincide with the G8 summit.

He added, "Surely there should be some kind of tariff on the record companies. It is without question that all the artists that play there will enjoy increased record sales.

"I would feel more comfortable if I felt there was a discussion and that the artists were putting pressure on their record labels to genuinely show that this is an altruistic act and that there is no self-gain in it because surely that negates from the message if there is."

10/06/2005 14:00