Fete de la Musique: much to be desired!
Alliance Française, the organizers of the Fete de la Musique event must now evaluate whether that annual event should be discontinued or a management team set up to better promote it.
This annual event is being organised for too long and has not improved. What is supposed to be a fete representing and celebrating the Francophone expressions mainly by Dominican artistes is becoming a dis-organised 'wash your foot and come' event.
The director, one must say, is young and also new in that role to Dominica and as far as I can see really has tremendous enthusiasium but really needs a solid team and, I dear say, resources to do the job. It would be difficult for me to comprehend another such poorly represented and presented "Fete de la Musique" activity anywhere among the Francophone countries.
Nonetheless, when one looks at the programme on paper it's quite impressive with some leading calypsonians, Midnite Groovers, Signal Band, King Dice who all either did not turn up or failed to perform for one reason or another.
Even the music arrangement and composition workshop sessions in which Ras Mo, Rah Peters, Dada Lawrence and myself were invited to be a part of, did not materialize. The individual(s) entrusted by the Alliance Francais failed to have one student in attendance and so put the entire organization in 'bad light.'
It is difficult not to compare what happens at the Venezuelan Institute organized activities to what obtains here with the French. Probably it's all about resource allocation for the Venezuelans seem to be much more organised and committed through their free sessions in the promotion of the Spanish language, culture and cuisine.
Ironically, we are supposed to have a closer affinity for the French, our former colonizers and because of our geographical location, our Creole language, and cultural similarities. Yet organized activities in 'Fete de la Musique' has not found acceptance by the populace.
Instead, it just seems to be a social activity for persons of French origin who reside in Dominica and for parents of children and associates who attend classes at the Alliance. This is the only plausible explanation other than inadequate marketing that such a free event could hardly attract 60 persons.
By the time I arrived, just minutes after 8pm, a number of performances which were schedule did not materialise, however the few whom I witnessed were outstanding and must be recognised for their efforts.
Gomez, one of Dominica's leading bassist and a quartet labelled as "freestyle" free-styled to fill in for some non- appearing acts. Reggae singer Atunya did a fabulous job with his group with popular Buju Banton/Marley selections and something from an original album " C'est pou vous." The experience and trained classical guitarist Tyson Johnson and talented daughter Jodie, (DAME's choice for musician of the year), accompanied on flute. Then a scintillating performance of Jazzy number " Summertime" and Beyoncé' "Listen" by Janae Jackson literally awoke the sleeping audience.
The 8th Note Jazz –band representation, I understood was soothing earlier on, unlike a Haitian Hip Hop duo, called Don, I thought exhibiting some potential, was noisy and too often not in sync with the music.
After this it was pure 'Old Mass", as everything was disorganised and the splinter audience just socialised, drank and mingled as an impromptu MC literally 'enjoyed himself' hastening my 10.30 pm departure.
As I drove home, I reflected as to whether this is the standards that the Alliance Francaise can be proud of or is this level of organization befitting the title "Fete de la Musique' co-ordinated by what is supposed to be an esteemed, well entrenched organization here.
I wish to submit that much more effort is needed in terms of marketing to have Dominicans buy into this activity, for it's not just a matter of documenting the event for overseas sponsors and providing them with some pictorial evidence that the day was in fact observed, no matter how inadequate.