Fête de la Musique is back

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Alliance Francaise's Communications secretary Papali Monyake
Alliance Francaise’s Communications secretary Papali Monyake

Mohalenyane Phakela

MASERU’S favourite music festival is back and it has gotten bigger than ever.

Organised by the French cultural body Alliance Française (AF) in collaboration with the US Embassy, Standard Lesotho Bank, Ouh la la Café, MoAfrica FM, Lesotho Times and Maluti Media, the Fête de la Musique – International Music Day will be held tomorrow and next Friday at Ouh la la café in Maseru.

It is held every year towards the end of this month — since 21 June is the French Music Day — with bands of all genres, amateurs or professionals and music fans gathering for a cheerful celebration of music. The Fête de la Musique was initiated in France in 1982 and has since then remarkably spread out around the world. In 2014, more than 700 cities in more than 100 countries have hosted the Fête de la Musique.

The fête is open to any participant, be it amateur or professional musician, who wants to perform in it. It allows the expression of all styles of music in a cheerful atmosphere. It is also premised on attracting a large audience, working to popularise musical practice for young and not so young people from all social backgrounds.

According to AF Communications Secretary, Papali Monyake, the festival gives people an opportunity to communicate and share a very special moment through music.

“With about 100 people in 2013, a total of 120 people in 2014, the Fête de la Musique in Maseru is quickly branding itself as a very popular music festival in Lesotho, taking place at Ouh la la Café which is a culturally vibrant hub and the popular place for people from all walks of life,” Monyake told the Weekender this week.

Last year the festival showcased the talents of nine local acts, both professional and amateur, such as Those Guys, INI, MIP and The Disciples alongside French-Malagasy guitarist Solorazaf.

This year, said Monyake, the AF hopes to make the festival more enjoyable with two musical afternoons.

Tomorrow at 3pm, revelers will be treated to a 10-man band from Madagascar led by Jaojoby, who is regarded as the “King of Salegy”, a musical style from the northwestern part of the island nation. Jaojoby has been called the most popular singer in Madagascar and the Indian Ocean islands. His success has earned him such honours as Artist of the Year in Madagascar for two consecutive years (1998–1999) and the role of Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund in 1999.

Next Friday, 26 June, the group Grèn Sémé is set to perform their unique brand of music which is deeply rooted in the tradition of “maloya” from the Indian Ocean French department of Reunion Island. The group describes its output as a musical “laboratory” and a mix of “singing and experimentation, between blues and joy, rebellion and tenderness, that the band call evolutive maloya”.

Also on the line-up is American duo Doster & Engle who perform acoustic music with an emphasis on oral tradition, and as a means of telling stories and sharing ideas.  It is made of singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer Stephen Doster who has been at the heart of the music scene in Austin, Texas, “The Live Music Capital of the World,” for over three decades working with numerous American musical legends. He teams up with singer and songwriter Greg Engle, a retired US ambassador and an award-wining songwriter whose original repertoire includes songs about Africa and a wide range of social issues. The Lesotho contingent will include Mookho and The Disciples among others.

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