THE French are no longer coming; they are here.
As a matter of fact the European superpower has settled in South Africa, a country that from the naked eye looks like a British and or American cultural playground.
The French have in recent years showed increased determination in exporting and promoting their culture and way of life to Mzansi. So, South Africa has witnessed massive and small French events – from the months long French season; to major exhibitions (such as Picasso in Africa and various others); the offering of French language lessons and consistent exporting of acts from France and former colonies to South Africa.
France’s departments of Cultural Affairs at the French Embassies, French cultural Centers and Institutes and the Alliances Françaises with the backing from Melville Residents Association and the Melville Business Association will present another edition of the Fête de la Musique. It’s all happening on June 28 along the stretch of the trendy and popular 7th Street in Melville. Those planning to attend are promised a day of live music (by professional and amateur acts) and various performances on the streets and at bars. Youtube video’s of previous staging tell a story of happy patrons and does actually show an image of an event that any social and arts loving person may want to attend.
Artists, from abroad, mentioned as performing this year include the Didier Labbe Quartet, Lo Griyo, Ikapa Dance Theatre and Solo Razafindrakoto aka Solorazaf.
Fête de La Musique is a French concept that was initially sampled four years ago in Port Elizabeth with the intention of promoting French art and culture in South Africa. Arts on Main in Johannesburg became the next testing ground in 2011. About ten thousand people are said to have displayed their appetite for last year’s event held in Melville. The French Ministry for culture launched the Fête de la Musique in 1982 and it is held in more than hundred countries in Europe and over the world. It is obvious France is on a serious mission to restore the glory of French, once considered the language of European diplomacy, high culture and polite conversation.
Clever French people these; they have long figured out the best, more effective and easy way to win over people is through arts and culture dressed in the robes of pleasure and fun. Me think we have to give it to the French for their understanding, appreciation and total grasp of the psychological, economical and intellectual power of culture, identity and language – which are tightly married to the arts.
Just so that you don’t have any reservations; Fête de la Musique in Melville is admission free. However legal tender will be required as food, drinks and all sorts of merchandise will be on sale. All the fun starts at 10am and runs until 6pm on June 28, at 7th Street in Melville Johannesburg.
The event is supported by of Western Union, Absa, Café Mexico, City of Joburg, Alliance française of Vanderbiljpark, Vaal University of Technology, Postnet, Air Liquide, Pro Helvetia, Air Austral, Conseil Regional 974, European Union and France Volontaires.