Jaojoby and Grèn Sémé to bring island style to Fête de la Musique

The Fête de la Musique in Johannesburg is back! One of the fastest growing festival brands in South Africa, the festival drew 5 000 people in 2012, 8 000 people in 2013 and 10 000 people in 2014. This year the event promises to be bigger and better as it moves to its new home at Newtown Junction in the heart of downtown Johannesburg on Saturday 27 June from 10am to 7pm.

Grèn Sémé from Reunion. Photo: www.gren-seme.re
Grèn Sémé from Reunion. Photo: www.gren-seme.re

Various stakeholders from the greater Newtown Cultural Precinct area will be involved in multiple live performances and programming activities spread throughout the day, and all come together at the exciting Newtown Junction precinct. The Bassline, The Market Theatre, Artist Proof Studios, The Dance Corner, The Photo Lab, Sci Bono Centre and others organisations will participate in this annual and uniquely free celebration of music and culture.

The fourth edition of Fête de La Musique promotes musical diversity and showcases a broad mix of music ranging from pop, rock, hip-hop, jazz, traditional and even to brass band music. Some of the international musical line-up festival goers can expect on the day include Jaojoby (Madagascar), Benjamin Piat (France) and Grèn Sémé (France/Reunion).

Jaojoby is commonly recognised as the most popular singer in Madagascar and the Indian Ocean islands. Widely referred to as the 'King of Salegy', the grooviest and most popular music genre of the island. His success has earned him such honours as Artist of the Year in Madagascar (1998-1999) and the role of Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund in 1999. He recently performed at the Bassline's Africa Day celebrations, as well as at the MTN Bushfire festival in Swaziland.

Benjamin Piat presents his very personal Chanson Française, mixing up touching lyrics, captivating melodies and lively beats. After performing more than 300 gigs, and winning an award at the “Chant’ Appart” Festival, Benjamin Piat is proud to present his brand new record, Boîte à Musique, with his debut South African show.

Grèn Sémé succeed in bringing their 'Maloya' sounds far beyond Reunion Island's borders. Their music, deeply rooted in tradition, explores new horizons and new sounds. In this laboratory comes to life a mix of singing and experimentation, between blues and joy, rebellion and tenderness, that they call "evolutive maloya".

Fete de la Musique favourites BCUC and Bongeziwe Mabandla will headline this year, alongside a slew of relative newcomers including Coal Train Band, Bambani Brass Band, Go Barefoot, Miss Bubu and The Meerkat Mob.

Launched in 1982 by the French Ministry for Culture, the Fête de la Musique is held in more than hundred countries in Europe and over the world. It usually takes place every 21st June, the day of the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere. Thanks to the dynamism of the French cultural network abroad (the departments of Cultural Affairs at the French Embassies, French cultural Centers and Institutes and the Alliances Françaises), the Fête has an important international growth. 2010 saw the inaugural South African event taking place in Richmond Hill, Port Elizabeth with the intention of promoting French art and culture in South Africa. The second Fête was held at Arts on Main in Johannesburg in 2011. From 2012 to 2014 the event was held in Melville, and now it moves to a bigger home in the exciting Newtown precinct.

The fourth edition of the Fête de la Musique is presented by the Alliance Francaise of Johannesburg, the French Institute of South Africa, Newtown Junction and the Bassline. The full programme will shortly be made available on the event website and facebook page.

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