Jamaica Observer / Later today, Kingston will join 700 cities in 120 countries to celebrate World Music Day. The event which was created in 1982 by French Minister of Culture Jack Lang and Maurice Fleuret as a means of bringing people out into the streets, in their neighbourhoods, parks and other public spaces to enjoy music in a an all-day festival, is celebrated annually on June 21.
Here in Jamaica, the Alliance Francaise, the non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting French culture and education globally, had been staging Fête de la Musique, as it is known in France, for some time. The Alliance Francaise has been operating in Jamaica since 1956.
President of the Alliance Francaise in Jamaica Gilou Bauer noted that the organisation is excited to again stage the festival, joining other cities across the globe in bringing people together through music.
“The idea behind Fête de la Musique is for persons to go out and enjoy free performances by singers and musicians. In France your social background doesn’t matter, it’s all about the music all day. For our celebration here in Jamaica, we chose the Grog Shoppe at Devon House as we believe the setting is just wonderful for this event.”
“The event will run from 5:00 pm until 9:00 pm and patrons can enjoy a variety of musical genres ranging from classical to jazz, reggae and dancehall. Each performer will be allotted fifteen minutes on stage to share their music with the audience,” said Bauer.
Fête de la Musique will feature French reggae artiste Delphine. She will be complemented by the Inna de Yard Band — an aggregation spearheaded by renowned guitarist Earl “Chinna” Smith. Other local acts slated to take to the stage are the Reggae Powerhouse Band, Bescenta, Giark, King Shaladon, the Iron Kyte Band and Omar Francis, among others.
Countries such as China, India, Germany, Italy, Greece, Russia, Australia, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Canada, the US, UK and Japan have joined in the observance of World Music Day and Bauer hopes that the local celebrations will grow in the coming years.
“We are taking small steps at this time with our staging of Fête de la Musique, but in the years ahead we would like to see even more events and not just in Kingston,” said Bauer.
Additional reporting by Basil Walters