Music opportunities in Chad

Chad’s music scene offers many opportunities to young artists. This is via festivals, trainings and other meetings that find and promote new talent.

Festival NdjamVi in 2011. Photo: RECAF
Festival NdjamVi in 2011. Photo: RECAF

Festivals

Two major opportunities are offered to young Chadian artists: Ndjamvi and N'Djam hip hop. Ndjamvi is considered the largest music festival in Chad and it has been a success since its first edition in 2007. It is the only local festival that welcomes nearly 10,000 people in one evening. It provides a platform to promote musical creativity in Chad.

Ndjamvi rewards young talents who struggle with working their way through the industry. Rewards have been established in several categories including world music, hip hop, traditionally inspired music, and Arabic music. The winners also benefit from the production of an album, a national promotional tour, as well as the support of the ECAM - Espace d’Accompagnement et de Création Musicale (an organisation offering guidance and encouraging musical creation).

The challenge of professionalization of the music sector has led Ndjamvi to move from its local dimension to an international dimension while incorporating artists from the sub-region in its programming.

From 2007 to 2015, Ndjamvi totalled 407 concerts, welcoming on stage 392 local groups and 15 foreign groups. Ndjamvi also awarded 26 prizes in various music categories.

Today, Ndjam hip hop has become large, and is a reference poinr, among urban music festivals. Ndjam hip hop is an initiative of the French Institute of Chad in collaboration with the Réseau Culturel et Artistique pour la formation et la francophonie (cultural and artistic training and la Francophonie network). Three venues (Maison de la culture, Baba Moustapha, the French Institute of Chad and Cultural Space) host the different stages of the competition. As for the Ndjamvi festival, finalists of Ndjam hip hop also benefit from the production of an album (from the studio to the release of the CD).

In relation to the circulation of artists and their works that remain a recurring problem in Central Africa, the Gabao  festival (urban music festival organized in Gabon) which is a sub-regional event, is considered a lifeline by the Chadian rappers.

Chadian hip hop artists fiercely compete to participate in this festival. It is therefore a very important event for them as it allows them to open up, to exchange, to acquire various experiences and to improve their know-how.

Training and sharing of experience

Sharing of experience has allowed young Chadians artists to learn how to develop their career. Several African artists have stayed at N'Djamena to participate in festivals and mentor new talent through training sessions.

For example, the Gabonese singer Annie-Flore Batchiellilys, guest at the Ndjamvi festival in 2014, returned to the Chadian capital in 2015 to organize training sessions in vocal technique intended for young musicians. Among the beneficiaries is the Chadian singer Geneviève Madjibeye who won the Ndjamvi 2015 award for "best world music."

At the end of this training, a music school called "Reougoss" was created. During the 2015 edition of the Ndjamvi festival, a music creation workshop was held and was attended by young talents from Chad, Cameroon, Gabon and the DRC.

Besides the French Institute of Kinshasa which periodically organizes artists residences, the biggest contributor remains the Soubyanna Music. A band created in 2002, owners of a venue called Royaume Culturel de Soubyanna (cultural kingdom of Soubyanna).

The institutions

The French Institute of Chad greatly contributes to the promotion of young musicians and offers them opportunities such as concert programming and communication, access to rehearsal space and venues for confirmed talent, visa facilitation, transport logistics, Internet access, guidance in structuring musical projects and exposure to the international scene (for example: Mounira Mitchala, the winner of Prix découvertes RFI, 2007).

These past four years, the French Institute of Chad has been involved in the pooling of talents, having similar events, in particular in the field of choreographic dance (Festival Souar Souar), fashion design (Festival Kélou fashion) and the craft industry (Salon des Arts Appliqués et de l’Artisanat). 

At the level of the Ministry of Culture, the main reason for continuous changes in the plans of action is the nomadism of the department (sometimes attached to the ministry of Youth and Sport, sometimes to the ministry of tourism) and the successive ministers. Artists’ grants are uncommon and travel opportunities under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture are rare.

However, it is worth noting the support of the Ministry to the participation of musicians to some major events on the continent namely the Fespam (Pan-African Music Festival) in the Congo Brazzaville (in 2005, 2007 and 2015), the SICA (Stars of African cultural integration) in Cotonou in Benin (in 2011, 2012 and 2013), and the Masa (African Arts and performing arts market) in Abidjan in Ivory Coast (in 2014 and 2016).

Most often, the opportunities are at the initiative of local cultural promoters, which according to their network, are supported by private partners and are able to take musicians outside of the continent. And this, thanks to the support of the national media (radio, TV, newspapers), significantly contributes to the promotion and visibility of young musicians.

La Maison de la culture Baba Moustapha N'Djamena, rehabilitated by the State in 2007 on a grant from the European Union, has seen a renewed influx of young artists these last two years. Through its fully equipped rooms (for show, rehearsals and meetings) and a recording studio, the venue offers the opportunity for young talents to be coached by local professionals, while ensuring their promotion.


Reference:

Journal du Chad: Http://www.journaldutchad.com

French Institute of Chad (IFT)

Blog Jeune Tchad : jeune-tchad.over-blog.com

 

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