Six stages of free music at this year’s Fête de la Musique in Johannesburg

The fifth edition of the Fête de la Musique is set to take place on Saturday 18 June at Newtown Junction in downtown Johannesburg.

Zanmari Baré and his band from Reunion. Photo: Facebook
Zanmari Baré and his band from Reunion. Photo: Facebook

Last year over 6000 people gathered to enjoy this celebration of music in all its forms, as well as dance and street performance. In 2016, six stages will be set up to offer a wide panel of free shows. This edition represents a new opportunity to encourage local musicians and discover new ones from around the world.

The event is hosted by the Alliance Française of Johannesburg, the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS) and the Bassline, with support from French oil and gas multinational Total. Launched in 1982 by the French Ministry for culture, the Fête de la Musique is held in more than 100 countries all over the world. It usually takes place every 21 June, to mark the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere. In South Africa the first Fête was inaugurated in 2010 in Port Elizabeth. The second took place the following year in Johannesburg.

Following a call for artists earlier this year, the organisers of the Fête de la Musique has revealed an exciting line-up of artists from all over the world.

Zanmari Baré and his band play maloya, the folk music of Reunion Island. Baré's golden voice sings in Reunion creole, an offspring of French and African, Malagasy and Indian tongues.


A natural virtuoso who feeds off his many collaborations, Daniel Mille from France is an exceptional accordion player and composer whose melodical perfection and poetic world are awe-inspiring. As part of his tour in South Africa, he will also present his duet with clarinettist Stéphane Chausse and perform with SA and Dutch prominent artists at the Standard Bank Grahamstown Jazz Festival.


Vaudou Game is a six-piece band led by charismatic Togolese frontman Peter Solo spreading the spiritual and musical heritage of Voodoo culture. The strive for authenticity and the analog sound of Apiafo, their first album, does not mean that Vaudou Game is looking backwards. This is Togolese funk that has perhaps never before explored its ancient roots so deeply and proudly. The band was one of the highlights of the recent MTN Bushfire fest in Swaziland and also recently performed at the Africa Day concert in Johannesburg.


Jess & Crabbe is a duo of French DJs/producers. Since 2010, they’ve also run Bazzerk, a label and multi-form entertainment project and have been influential in the emergence of Kuduro in Europe, the US and Japan. They have also become masters at the art of blending upfront innovative dance music from everywhere on the globe in order to generate a unique dance experience.

The local artists performing at this year’s Fête de La Musique’s promise to be as diverse and powerful as the international line-up, with established such as Blk Jks, Bombshelter Beast, Guy Buttery, Nono Nkoane and UJU performing alongside exciting upcoming talent in the form of Ndyebo, Academie, Urban Village, Unity Band, Watching Over Africa, FingerPrint5, Black South Easter, Ben Dey & The Concrete Lions, Iphupho L’ka Biko, Kevin and The Love World and Kinsmen.

Representing other countries in the Southern African region will be Lesotho’s Morayks, Hellen Dikobe from Botswana and DRC-born, SA-based Mapumba Cilombo.

French-South African exchange platform ParisSoweto has put together a special playlist in the run-up to the event, featuring tracks by the participating artists.


For the full programme and more details, visit the Fête de la Musique website or Facebook page.


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