A famous half-Kenyan Harvard graduate from Illinois in his 40s will be in St. Paul during the Republican National Convention — but it’s not Sen. Barack Obama.

Tom Morello, the activist guitarist for Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, and another outspoken rocker, Steve Earle, will perform a Labor Day concert on St. Paul’s Harriet Island during the Republican National Convention.

The pair — along with Earle’s country-singer wife, Allison Moorer — committed to appear at the Service Employees International Union’s Labor Day Festival, a three-day event across the river from Xcel Energy Center, where the GOP convention will be based.

A union representing 2 million workers nationwide, SEIU also expects former Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. John Edwards to appear.

SEIU secretary-treasurer Anna Burger would not call the event a protest concert, but said: “It’s no secret that a lot of people have been hurting under the economic policies of the last eight years. We are of course honored and excited by the talent that is lining up to honor working people and to envision a new American dream for the 21st century.”

More talent is lining up for other events, too. The Ripple Effect will play  Sept. 2 on the State Capitol Lawn— with free performers, including the radical punk band Anti-Flag, activist reggae/hip-hop stars Michael Franti and Matisyahu, and rap acts Dead Prez and I Self Devine. Members of the Honeydogs and Semisonic are organizing a Sept. 2 festival called ProVention at Midway Stadium in St. Paul. A fundraiser for Obama called Eight Is Enough will take place Aug. 27 at the Turf Club in St. Paul, with Minnesota rock and hip-hop acts such as Low, P.O.S. and Tapes ’N Tapes.

Other well-known performers are confirmed to play more Republican-friendly events. Sammy Hagar and LeAnn Rimes, for example, will perform for private parties at First Avenue and Trocaderos in Minneapolis, respectively, during the convention.

Earle’s and Morello’s management hinted that “friends” might join them Sept. 1. Morello, who endorsed Obama, recently recorded a song with Bruce Springsteen and helmed the Justice Tour this spring, joined by members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and System of a Down.

Earle made waves in 2002 with his post-9/11 album “Jerusalem” and has long stumped for labor-union issues. “I lived in New York in 2004 during the summer of the Republican convention there, basically so I could [mess] with the Republicans,” he told the Star Tribune in March.

Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658