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Gorillaz debut three new songs at free concert for NHS workers

Jelani Blackman, AJ Tracey and Alicai Harley appear on the previously unheard material

Gorillaz have debuted three new songs during a free concert for NHS workers.   

The show took place at London's O2 Arena on 10th August, and was organised to thank UK public health staff and their families for efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.

A trio of fresh songs were performed to mark the occasion: 'Meanwhile' with rising vocalist Jelani Blackman, 'Jimmy Jimmy' alongside British rapper AJ Tracey, and 'De Ja Vu' featuring Jamaican-born London-based dancehall star, Alicai Harley. 

A host of other collaborators also appeared on the night. The Cure's Robert Smith took to the stage for 'Strange Timez', taken from last year's Gorillaz album, 'Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez'.

Peter Hook of New Order, Popcaan, slowthai, Slaves, De La Soul's Posdunos, Little Simz, Shaun Ryder and fellow Manchester music icon Rowetta, EARTHGANG, Leee John, and Fatoumata Diawara were also on hand for tracks from the Gorillaz discography, which spans 23 years.

Damon Albarn described his virtual band's new music as "carnival-themed" and a welcome change after working on his latest solo album, which arrives in November. "It’s really exciting and we’ve been really enjoying it... It’s a nice kind of counter-balance to ‘The Nearer The Fountain." 

Gorillaz have been confirmed as one of the headliners for Primavera Sound 2022 in Barcelona next June. The group also unveiled a new collaboration with British fashion giant Fred Perry back in April this year. You can watch performances of their new material below.