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Hard rock stars sing for Armenian school
(AFP) – 8 hours ago

YEREVAN — Hard rock stars Ian Gillan and Tony Iommi, famous for playing with Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, launched a charity record on Friday to raise money for a music school in ex-Soviet Armenia.

Proceeds from the record by singer Gillan and guitarist Iommi's band WhoCares are intended to help rebuild the impoverished school in the Armenian city of Gyumri, which was hit by a massive earthquake in 1988 that killed 25,000 people.

"I'm very happy that our collaboration with the rock stars is continuing," Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian, known as a fan of hard rock, said at the launch in Yerevan.

"They fell in love with our country and this disc is an expression of that."

The record, "Out of My Mind", is accompanied by a film about the British musicians' long-term involvement with the small Caucasus republic.

"Both Gillan and Iommi have spent a lot of time in Armenia, fallen in love with the country and the people and have dedicated a lot of work to a nation still shocked after the earthquake," said a statement on Gillan's website.

Deep Purple played a concert in Armenia in 1990 to raise funds after the earthquake, and another charity show for 10,000 people in Yerevan last year.

A version of the band's best-known song "Smoke on the Water" featuring stars from Pink Floyd and Queen was also released as part of the Rock Aid Armenia campaign, which led the authorities in Yerevan to award state honours to the musicians in gratitude.

Deep Purple remain hugely popular across the former Soviet Union, counting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev among their fans as well as the Armenian prime minister.

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