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Fete De la Musique lives up to billing

Mohalenyane Phakela

EVEN though the weather conspired to put a damper on the excitement at Alliance Française de Maseru’s annual music festival, Fete de la Musique, guests who attended the Fete De la Musique on Thursday were able to enjoy the scintillating showcase.

Thick clouds and a chilly breeze hovered over Ouh la la Gardens in Maseru but this did not deter revelers who came in their numbers to have a good time.
A tent and a number of umbrellas were erected, in case the angry clouds decided to unload showers of rain on the hapless attendees.
The placing of heaters in the sitting area to keep the crowd warm, coupled with colourful lights around the venue, set the scene for an enthralling evening. Thankfully, there was no rain on the night and the elements did not dictate the festival’s programme, as some feared, with the party continuing till Friday morning.

The opening act was five-man a capella group Those Guys. Although the group mostly performed well-known classics, they added their own flair and had the adoring crowd singing along. Their rendition of the Famo song Ha kea Nka Mosali Ke Nkile Lerato was “otherworldly”, according to one mesmerised fan.

Those Guys transformed the well-known song into an a capella tune, with the musical instruments substituted by beat-boxing and rap which elicited a standing ovation from the crowd.
Hot on their heels was the main act of the night, French-Malagasy guitarist Solorazaf, whose performance was also on a laid-back tip.
The former lead guitarist for the late great Miriam Makeba, refused to be drawn to categorise his brand of music, saying he leaves that to the audience.

Solorazaf, however, divulged that his musical style was influenced by the French and Malagasy cultures. He lulled the crowd with the harmonic sound embodied by his small acoustic guitar and riveting vocal skills.
Local gospel group, The Disciples, took over the stage after Solorazaf’s exit. Consisting of a drummer and three guitarists one of which is the lead vocalist, The Disciples expounded on the word of God in an engaging way.
Hip Hop group INI was next up, and they revved the crowd with their energetic performance. Once they chanted their hit track Mo Vibing the festival took a lively turn compared to the previous laid back performances.
The sought after MIP, represented by rappers Jiji F and T-Mech, made sure they kept the up-tempo flame ablaze.

They serenaded the crowd with bangers such as Papa ka Lebese and fellow rapper Nirex’s Animale, whilst also introducing some of their yet to be released material.
The first Fete de la Musique was held in France in 1982 with the idea to give as many artistes as possible the opportunity to showcase their talents.
Also called World Music Day, the festival is now celebrated in more than 460 cities in 110 countries worldwide. According to Alliance Française de Maseru Director, Camille Perdereau, the celebrations are intended to “warm people’s hearts”.
It certainly did the trick as those who attended the festival on Thursday can attest.

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