The music piece from the famous French composer Erik Satie wafted through the air, setting the mood for a night of music.
All those gathered in the hall at Iskandhar School leaned a bit closer as Yukari Matsuda played three music pieces on the piano, two pieces by Satie and a third by Claude Debussy.
It was July 1, and Alliance Française (AF) along with Music House was holding an event to mark Fête de la Musique, or World music day.
Fête de la Musique
“Alliance Française will mark this event all over the world,” says Muriel Schmit, the director of AF.
After all World Music Day originated from France, where it first took place in 1982. Traditionally marked at the start of summer, the concept is to have professional and amateur musicians perform free concerts for one evening.
It also aims to encourage people to make music, and the growing popularity of the event has meant that it has spread all over the world and is held in numerous countries annually.
“We want to promote young Maldivian artists and music of all genres,” says Muriel.
AF is mandated with promoting the local culture, and creating a cultural scene.
“Music in an integral part of a country’s culture and it should be valued,” Muriel says.
AF has sought the help of an NGO, Music House, in hosting the event.
“We managed world music day with AF in 2007, 2009 and this year,” says Ahmed ‘An’du’ Tholaal Hassan, managing director of Music House.
An’du believes marking the event is beneficial to the music scene: “It’s a good platform for new bands to perform.”
However he rues the fact it cannot be marked in its original concept, with free concerts and people playing music on every street corner.
“In other countries it’s a bigger event, but here even the weather plays a part as the day falls during the monsoon.”
Noting that this year’s theme is ‘women in music’, Muriel says “we are happy to have female
musicians perform at this event, as it’s mostly a male dominated industry.”
Having the Maldives first all-female heavy metal band perform was a highlight of the evening, she says.
Promoting Different Genres
Anya, 18, with an acoustic guitar, performs classical songs next. Despite her young age Anya is a
known face having performed in popular music programmes like TVM’s ‘E Hadhaan.’
Industry stalwarts like singer Shifa performs with Music House’s own band ‘Eykolli Baaga’.
Playing original movie soundtracks with a rock feel, Shifa sings songs like Raol and Hithuge Therein. The crowd – mostly youngsters – shows their appreciation.
‘The Sanctuary’, a band of four guys, set the place on fire. Lead singer Visham, complete with kohl rimmed eyes, throws himself into the performance with gusto. A sudden swarm of mostly young men and a couple of girls appear from nowhere and plant themselves at the base of the stage.
What follows next is the most amazing ‘head banging’ at the foot of the stage in rhythm to the black metal music that is played on the stage.
“Black metal has a very dedicated fan following,” says An’du. Dedicated they are, as The Sanctuary are a hitherto unknown name in the music scene and this being their first performance.
‘Chord Sequence’ played grunge music. ‘Nebt-Het’, the all-female band was next, a performance
of four members as their fifth member was abroad. Nebt-Het has ambitions to become the first female
band in the Maldives to play heavy metal.
“They had practiced for just four months,” says An’du. Their performance of Eh heelun and Wicked Games rocked.
The popular Boduberu group ‘Harubee’ did a mean boduberu piece for their intro.
Innovative and modern, it sounded like an invitation to dance. A dozen young men took up the invitation and after doing freestyle dance, switched to traditional boduberu dance moves.
The night truly captured the essence of world music day, the performances mixing different genres