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Carla Bruni-Sarkozy joins diva line-up at Nelson Mandela's birthday concert

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She vowed never to perform at a public concert while her husband was in office, but the Italy-born beauty was persuaded to take part in Mr Mandela's birthday concert because of the Aids prevention work of the charities involved. She performed Blowin' In The Wind with Eurythmics musician Dave Stewart
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 Photo: © Getty Images

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Stevie Wonder performed his hit Happy Birthday as pictures of a young Mr Mandela were shown on the giant screens behind him
 Photo: © Getty Images

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Other famous faces taking part included (from right) Cyndi Lauper, Aretha Franklin, Lil' Kim and Susan Sarandon
 Photo: © Getty Images

20 JULY 2009

Watch Carla's performance

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy played her first public gig since becoming France's First Lady at the weekend – joining a star-studded line-up at a concert to mark Nelson Mandela's 91st birthday.

As her husband Nicolas Sarkozy cheered and clapped from the audience, the Italy-born beauty sang Bob Dylan hit Blowin' In The Wind accompanied by Eurythmics musician Dave Stewart.

Last year, 41-year-old Carla said she wouldn't participate in any concerts while her husband was in office, although she has appeared on TV shows.

Organisers of the Mandela Day concert said she had decided to take part because of the Aids prevention work of the charities involved. It's a cause close to her heart - her brother Virginio died of the disease in 2006.

Other performers at the event, which took place at Radio City Hall in New York, included I Will Survive singer Gloria Gaynor, Lil' Kim, Alicia Keys and soul legend Aretha Franklin, who was given a standing ovation before she even sang a note.


Hollywood stars present included Morgan Freeman, Susan Sarandon and Queen Latifah, who introduced her mother to the crowd, announcing: "She taught me all women are queens, and should be treated as such." Master of ceremonies at the concert was Whoopi Goldberg.

Mr Mandela was deemed too frail to travel to the bash, but spoke via satellite to the crowd, telling them: "It is in your hands to make a better world for everyone."

President Barack Obama also sent a personal video message which was played on the giant screen behind the stage.

Capping off the Saturday night event, Stevie Wonder sang his hit Happy Birthday, which was originally written to remember Martin Luther King.

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