“Free” Project
Tokio tribute to Nelson Mandela

A reinterpretation of famous songs dedicated to the South African leader

When the news of Nelson Mandela’s passing arrived in December 2013, we were deeply touched. We felt a special affinity between us and Mandela, as well as between us and the fight against apartheid. It was a link from far away, from the time we had made ours the song “Biko” by Peter Gabriel, which we had joyfully played at the end of our concerts 35 years prior. We never thought that this hymn to freedom would have led us to reunite after so many years to collect and reinterpret some of the most significant songs dedicated to Mandela and to other protagonists of the movement of the liberation of South Africa.

For us, then young musicians, Mandela was the symbol, while he was still in prison, of the fight against injustice and apartheid. Today, after his liberation and the subsequent events that have transformed the history of South Africa, we can say all the more so that he remains a symbol, but now a symbol of reconciliation and peacemaking. We believe that this is the greatness of Mandela, and that freedom is the keyword to proclaim it.

The idea came about in this way: “Free” is a revisitation of famous songs by various artists dedicated to Mandela and to the fight for the liberation of South Africa. We wanted to play them in our way, also inserting original musical parts composed by us, and by adding at the end our personal contribution, an unpublished song entitled “The road to freedom”. We have collected these songs in a CD of which the proceeds will be entirely donated to the Wattville Township library in the municipality of Ekurhuleni in Johannesburg. The library was recently named after Bruna and Giuseppe Soncini of Reggio Emilia.

The Wattville Township library

We are proud to have dedicated this effort to Nelson Mandela. We think that telling about him through music and songs dedicated to him is the best way to deliver him to the new generations, alive and finally “Free”.

1 - Biko (Peter Gabriel) 7:19 [lyrics] [video]
2 - Ordinary love (U2) 5:49 [lyrics]
3 - Mandela day (Simple Minds) 4:43 [lyrics]
4 - Asimbonanga (Johnny Clegg) 7:30 [lyrics]
5 - The road to freedom (Tokio) 6:17 [lyrics]

Listen to the demo
Our supporters






Simone Beneventi: tubular bells (3) - Rebecca Bettinelli: bk vocals (5) - Filippo Chieli: violin (3)
Davide Crimaldi: ld vocals (2), bk vocals (4) - Gabriele Genta: marimba (4), glockenspiel (1), percussions (3-4)
Giovanni Genta: guitar (3) - Francesco Ottani: 12 string guitar (1) - Marco Parmiggiani: pedal steel guitar (2)
Samuele Riva: cello (2) - Noemi Tommasini: bk vocals (2-4-5) - Elizangela Torricelli: ld vocals (2), bk vocals (2-4-5)

Luca Adami - Andrea Bonetti - Alfonso Borghi - Enzo Cattini - Nancy Jenkins - Massimo Morini

Max Cottafavi for playing guitar on "The road to freedom"
Andrea Fornili for playing the last guitar solo on "Ordinary love"
Antonio De Sarno for "The road to freedom" lyrics
With patronage of:
Embassy of the Republic
of South Africa in Rome
Italian Institute of Culture
in Pretoria
Italian Embassy
in South Africa
Hellenic, Italian
and Portuguese communities
of South Africa
With the contribution of:
TOKIO FREE PROJECT 2016 • Phone: +39 347 0497044 • email: info@tokio2014.it