the United Colours of Africa
peace, love and respect
MASA All African Music gatheing
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.
"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.
"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."
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