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Maseru braces for French invasion

. . . as fete de la Musique comes to town

Mohalenyane Phakela

French-Malagasy guitarist will be among the festival’s highlights
French-Malagasy guitarist will be among the festival’s highlights

THIS Thursday, Ouh la la Café will host the annual Fete de la Musique, an inclusive music festival which originated in France three decades ago and coincides with the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere.
The festival, which was first held in 1982 in Paris, has become an international phenomenon, celebrated on the same day in more than 460 cities in 110 countries.
In Lesotho, it is organised by the French cultural body Alliance Française, with local musicians playing for free, supported by international artists.

Held every year towards the end of this month — since 21 June is the French Music Day — Fete de la Musique brings people with a passion for music together to participate in the festivities, be it amateur or professional musicians, making all genres of music accessible to the public.

At the heart of the festival is expression of all styles of music in a cheerful atmosphere. The target audience is broad with both the young and old as well as people from various social backgrounds participating. It also promotes new artists and fosters musical diversity.

At this year’s show, Alliance Française will feature, among others, Solorazaf — a French-Malagasy guitarist, Soul Preachers with their poignant jazz and pop, The Disciples with their funky worship music, and the enchanting Accapella Moments.

Solo Razafindrakoto, simply Solorazaf, is a scintillating guitarist and singer from Madagascar currently residing in Paris.

He mixes complex guitar patterns with equally forceful vocals to produce a sound that is at once highly rhythmic and smoothly flowing. He also adds foot percussion, using homemade stomp-boxes.
The left foot plays a kind of bass drum & the right foot a kind of shaker.

Solorazaf’s latest album, Andreasong, a dedication to his son Andrea, is the result of a journey with many stopovers from Europe to Africa, between Paris and Antananarivo.
It was recorded both in France (his birthplace) and in Madagascar (where he grew up).

In his musical project, there is a union of ternary rhythms coming from the southern Indian Ocean region (Madagascar, Comoros, the Réunion and Mauritius islands) combined with binary beats and guitar compositions shaped into songs with or without lyrics which are mostly in French, Malagasy, while some are written in English.

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