July 6, 2007 / 7:24 PM / 11 years ago

Unknown Antarctica band joins Live Earth megastars

LONDON (Reuters) - Nunatak, an unknown rock band from Antarctica, is about to become famous.

However brief its moment in the limelight, the group comprising two engineers, a marine biologist, a meteorologist and a polar guide will be watched by millions around the world when it appears as part of the Live Earth concerts on Saturday.

Billed as the “coolest gig in Live Earth”, the outdoor performance at the British Antarctic Survey’s Rothera Research Station will be pre-recorded and broadcast on the day on television, the Internet and possibly at the gigs themselves.

While rock royalty like Madonna struts her stuff before a live audience of up to 90,000 at London’s Wembley Stadium, Nunatak can expect to perform in front of 17 colleagues braving the freezing temperatures of a Southern Hemisphere winter.

“At the moment we have had a sudden drop in temperature — it is minus 18 degrees (Celsius) outside,” Matt Balmer, lead singer of the band, told Reuters by telephone from Antarctica.

“You’ve just got to be very quick getting the songs done.”

The 22-year-old engineer said he and his fellow musicians had been rehearsing in the last few days and would record the performance on Thursday or Friday, in time for Saturday’s event.

“It’s quite daunting in a way, but on the other hand we don’t have TV and that much media really,” he said.

“What we see is through the Internet. It’s hard to understand how much hype is going on. When we play there are 17 people on the base, so it’s just a bit of fun really and hard to get the bigger picture.”


Live Earth will air two songs by Nunatak performed against a backdrop of icebergs, mountains, and sea.

Organizers hope the series of concerts across the world will attract a global audience of up to two billion people, raise awareness about climate change and encourage people to alter their lifestyles to help the environment.

Balmer said it was an issue close to his heart.

“I was very passionate about it when I came down here to work,” he explained. “People have to start to understand it more and the more scientists can understand the more quickly we can put measures in place to prevent it.”

Nunatak’s performance means that Al Gore, the former U.S. vice president spearheading Live Earth, can deliver on his promise to hold at least one gig on every continent.

The concerts are to be held in Sydney, Tokyo, Shanghai, London, Hamburg Johannesburg and New York. A concert in Rio De Janeiro is under threat due to security concerns.

Nunatak gets it name from a Greenlandic word which means an exposed summit of a ridge mountain or peak within an ice field or glacier.

The British Antarctic Survey says temperatures in the western part of the Antarctic Peninsula have risen by nearly three degrees Celsius during the last 50 years, several times the global average and matched only by Alaska and Siberia.

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