Music Festivals & Africa
                                                                                                   

 

FESPAM CONGO :

In 2001 the music festival of FESPAM intervened in the war : Arms were dropped and never lifted again : President Sassou Nguesso spent two weeks hiding in the roof of his palace during the unscheduled invasion from the giant across the river (20KM). Kinshasa. Congo Brazzavile has a 70% natural forestation that you must receive signed permission from the president to access! braza la belle!

MASA ABIDJAN :

The glorious port city of Abidjan, the cultural crossroads of West Africa, becomes a great location for the convergence of Pan-African performing arts during the biennial MASA festival and market. Abidjan is a beautiful city, and MASA is a major festival , a place where musicians from all over this diverse and fascinating continent can come together in showcasing the expression, dignity, pride and music of this continent.

MASA, a grand gathering of musicians, artists and art professionals is a week-long celebration of African unity through music, theatre, comedy, dance, storytelling and sustainable business networking. The prestigious MASA event was started in 1993 as a biennial event dedicated to the promotion and reinvigoration of the African performing arts.

MASA is a performing arts festival and market combined. This integrative approach is building sustainable networks between performing arts practitioners, both on and off stage.

For the festival component of the event, MASA facilitates a generous movement of artists and their works, within Africa and throughout the world, selecting artists representing countries across Africa and the African diaspora to perform at the main festival; called ‘MASA IN'. Up and coming artists travel from mainly the West African region to participate and showcase their musical and dramatic heritage, in a free street festival and showcase; called ‘MASA OUT'. These showcases have an excellent reputation of being the first step on the road to recognition for rising stars and important cultural initiatives. The exquisite Palais de la Culture, situated on the water's edge, is the primary venue. A state-of-the-art 1500 seater theatre hosts the MASA IN music festival and the smaller 600 seater venue hosts the cream of the MASA OUT showcases to be attended by delegates and broadcasters. Stands accommodate industry and business initiatives from the performing arts. These promotional stands are an opportunity for Pan African record labels, management companies, development agencies and other initiatives in the performing arts value chain, to promote their services, sign new artists and network for new business. With an estimated daily visitor-ship of more than 5000 people, the MASA event livens up the city of Abidjan and increases the commitment of the local population, whilst contributing to the development of arts and culture.

Abidjan is one of the most diverse cities on the continent. As a port city it accommodates a high percentage of foreigners from all over the region. And Ivorians are themselves a people united in diversity, with approximately 60 different ethnic groups.

"There are many traditions and ethnic groups in Cote D'Ivoire and Africa in general," tells Boni Gnahore. "Each tribe must have, its interior movement, its way of seeing, its inspiration, its energy. These energies fuse together to form an African tradition and with the different languages there is such a diversity in Africa. Our work as an artist it is to put these things together. We try to only find the elements that unite to create an equilibrium of energy in Africa."

Music is central to many religious, ceremonial and healing practices, and this importance hasn't died with time, it is still central perhaps only slightly modernised - and the importance of the griot pervaded the entire MASA gathering. No longer to be a griot is a birth right, nor a restricted ceremonial giving in your village, the musicians have strongly taken on the responsibilities of the people, creating awareness to all the subtle difficulties in Africa and pushing the general consciousness into a position that will hold and nurture the hopes and aspirations of the future generation.

"The true destination of the artist, the path itself, is one of meetings, exchanges," says Boni Gnahore.
The MASA festival is amusicians village with musicians from all over Africa enjoying a relaxing day on te beautiful Abidjan Riviera sharing opinions, ideas and inspiration.

"When a president comes to the village, there is music, when you marry or die there is music. There is a strong culture, it is a factor of unity in Africa," tells Cameroonian drummer Eric Alania.

"I," says Oumou Soumare, "sing for the emancipation of the woman. Formerly, the woman did not have the right to learn, they did the housework, went to the field's, occupied the husband and the children but today that changes. One sees women ministers, judges. In Africa it is hard for the women, they have to wake at 4 hours in the morning, they prepare the breakfast and amend the fields for the men and help them to collect and then they return and bring the lunch, then they will cut wood, transport it, look after the children. The woman is practically never at rest, it is difficult."

"The evolution is necessary," says Eric Aliana. "Even if the tradition is used it should be given an international dimension. The international world can learn from African stories and let them learn from ours."

"The Zouglon music was created in the university cities," tells Magic System producer Angelo Kabila. "The students danced for saying one suffers, one is hungry. Through humour, one sensitises everyone with the reality of the day."

 

Flights to Abidjan kindly sponsored by South African Airways. Visit to Congo kindly sponsored by the ministry of Arts and Culture Zimbabwe and Congo Brazzaville : Research and interviews archived at ILAM (International Library for African Music)

ARCHIVE: Musicians
Interviews on Mini Disk of Artists located at ILAM

SDMD001

12/1999

Cape Town

Parliament of World Religions (PWR)

PWR

SDMD002

12/1999

Cape Town

PWR

PWR

SDMD003/01

08/06/00

Dakar

DJ Awadi

Hip Hop Senegal

SDMD003/02

16/06/00

Dakar

Khuman

Hip Hop Senegal

SDMD003/03

21/06/00

Dakar

Coco Jean

Hip Hop Senegal

SDMD004/01

12/06/00

Dakar, Saint Louis

BaabaMaal,

Mbalax Senegal

SDMD004/02

14/06/00

Dakar

Ismael Lo

Mbalax Senegal

SDMD004/03

 

Dakar

Dancing with Diaspora

Musicians from Senegal

SDMD005/01

16/06/00

Dakar

Zale Seck,

Mbalax Senegal

SDMD005/02

23/06/00

Dakar

Cheikh Lo

Mbalax Senegal

SDMD006/01

19/06/00

Dakar

BoubaN'Dour

Mbalax Senegal,

SDMD006/02

20/06/00

Dakar

CoumbaGowlo

Mbalax Senegal,

SDMD007

21/06/00

Dakar

Dancing with Diaspora

Music of Senegal

SDMD008

26/06/00

Bamako Mali

RokiaTraore, Zotto Boys

Musicians of Mali

SDMD013/1 06/09/00 Arts Alive JHB Joyce
South America Brazil
SDMD013/2 07/09/00 Arts Alive JHB Susana Baca
South America Peru

SDMD021

March 2001

Cote D'voire, Burkina Faso

Chronicles Noir Faso Connection

Burkina Faso

SDMD022

July 2001

Congo Brazzaville

Orchestra Aragon, Bororo, Werrason

Congo, Cuba &African diaspora

SDMD023

July 2001

Congo Brazzaville

Bororo part 2 et al

Congo & African diaspora

SDMD024

July 2001

Congo Brazzaville

Bisso Na Bisso, Stella Chirwehse

Congo & African diaspora

SDMD025

31/08/01

Johannesburg

Khadja Nin

Burundi

SDMD026

09/10/2001

Maputo Mozambiqe

Chicquito, KapaDech, Roland Hohlberg

Mozambique

SDMD027

10/10/01

Maputo Mozambiqe

Eyuphoro, Leman Pinto

Mozambique

SDMD028

10/10/01

Maputo Mozambiqe

* Unknown

Mozambique

      Stella Chirweshe
Zimbabwe
      Khadja Nin
Burundi
         
         
SDDG 17.10.09 Rafael Anker
Switzerland Ethiopia
 
SDDG 14.12.14 Peterharper
Australia Ethiopia
 
SDDG 02.03.15 Dahinden & Kleeb
Poetry of Possibility
 
SDDG 23.03.15 Jill Richards
Poetry of Possibility
 
SDDG 13.05.15
Mac McKenzie
Goema Orchestra
 
SDDG 05.07.15
Kutlwano Masote
Goema Orchestra
 
SDDG 14.07.15 Lucas Ligeti
African Music
 
SDDG 18.10.15 Liam Monkhouse
Digital Africa
 
SDDG 28.06.16 Bholoja
Swaziland
 
SDDG 18.07.16
Spoek Mathambo
Electronic Traditional
 
SDDG 25.07.16
Brother Moves On
Joburg innovation
 
SDDG 25.07.16
Kevin Ribbans
Mixnblend
 
SDDG 04.09.16 Seun Kuti
Kalakuti Republic
 
SDDG 05.04.17 Sa Roy
Madagascar
 
SDDG 11.03.18 Jojo Abott
Pan African
 
SDDG 03.05.18 Nakhane
Eastern Cape International
 
SDDG 29.05.18
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Grammy's
 
         

 

 

 

2018 African music, writing, philosophy and multi-media creations © Struan Douglas
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