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Jaojoby rivets crowd at Fête de la Musique


Alliance Francaise Present Fe'te De La Musique Featuring Jaojoby from Madagascar
Alliance Francaise Present Fe’te De La Musique Featuring Jaojoby from Madagascar

Mohalenyane Phakela

MASERU’s characteristic wintry chill was mellowed on Friday by the captivating sounds of Madagascan crooner Jaojoby.

The packed Ouh La La Café played host to the godfather of Salegy, one of the most popular music genres in Madagascar since the mid-20th century.

Jaojoby’s self-named band, comprising seven men and three women, serenaded revelers with their unique brand of folk music. The three-hour show was highly interactive, with the crowd able to make requests for their favourite songs.

The performance was part of the Fête de la Musique – International Music Day, which is held every year towards the end of this month. The Fête de la Musique was initiated in France in 1982 and has since remarkably spread out around the world. In 2014, more than 700 cities in more than 100 countries have hosted the event.

The festival was 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.

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

On Friday, 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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