World Music Day concert rocks Male’ City Hall

Male’ City Hall was transformed into a music venue last night by the Alliance Française Maldives (AFM), which hosted free musical performances by Maldivian and French musicians in celebration of World Music Day.

The Alliance Française Maldives (AFM) has organised annual Fête de la Musique (World Music Day) events in Male’ since 2009, with music performed in public spaces “for everyone to enjoy” as part of this worldwide celebration, AFM Director Cécile Le Breton told Minivan News today (June 30).

Although World Music Day began as an initiative of the French Ministry of Culture in 1982, since its inception the event has become such a “big success” that over 500 cities in 100 countries organise free music performances to mark the beginning of summer, according to Breton.

“In Male’, people are waiting, expecting and looking forward to something like this – an event that offers a break from their daily lives,” said Breton. “This year was quite a huge success, we were very happy so many people showed up.”

“A lot – a lot – of young people came to this event, you could see on their faces that they are really looking for this kind of stuff; something entertaining that’s different from what’s been happening,” she continued.

“There is not that much happening for youth, nothing really interesting, no big music or cultural events,” she noted. “They were so happy to have a chance to musically express themselves.”

“So many people came up to me saying ‘you should organise a concert like this every month’,” she added.

Over 200 people attended last night’s (June 29) event, which featured traditional Maldivian drumming, singing and dancing by Habeys Boduberu Group, energetic performances by Maldivian rock banks Wave Damage and Velvet Flames, as well as a French gypsy jazz band, Caravan Quartet.

“Cultural events are quite successful because they offer csomething different to experience,” said Breton. “This is one of the biggest events AFM holds every year and it is open to everyone.”

“People could hear from the street and a lot came in. It was a pretty good location, although not a very big venue,” she added.

Due to “poor weather conditions and political events” taking place throughout Male’, AFM hosted the event in the Male’ City Hall building located on the capital’s main thoroughfare Majeedhee Magu, however last year World Music Day festivities took place in Sultan Park.

According to AFM, the event setting gives the original ambiance of Fête de la Musique in France, as during the world music day every musician is free to express their artistic talent in countless public places – streets, parks, squares, museums, restaurants – creating a festive atmosphere. Musical performances even take place in “unusual” locations, such as prisons or hospitals.

“We are very proud of this event,” said Breton. “Organising it took a lot of time and energy and you never know if an event like this is going to work in the Maldives.”

“It was very difficult to find sponsors because they kept saying ‘its not the right time’. They were so afraid and discouraged holding cultural music events,” she lamented.

“I think they were reluctant because we are not Maldivians, but Alliance Française received so much positive feedback, especially from youth. We definitely have a role to play holding events like this that are accessible to everyone,” she continued.

Alliance Française Maldives is an NGO based in Male’ since 2009, teaching the French language and giving an insight into French culture, and promoting cultural diversity. AFM holds a variety of diverse cultural events throughout the year, including movie screenings, poetry readings, photography exhibitions, and cooking workshops.

“We are a non-political, non-religious, non-profit organisation trying to bring something different and open people’s minds,” explained Breton. “Part of our primary mission is to offer cultural programs, which is why the organisation was created and has branches worldwide.”

According to the AFM 2013 website, the group has chosen to organise monthly events with a view to maintain coherence within the francophone and francophile groups, to facilitate meetings among like minded individuals and spark creative projects.

Founded in Paris in 1884, Alliance Française is a non-profit association giving the opportunity to anyone to learn French language and enjoy the culture of French speaking-countries worldwide, with over 1000 centres across 136 countries.


Alliance Française to host free World Music Day concert in Male’ this evening

Alliance Française Maldives (AFM) will be celebrating World Music Day this evening with a free concert bringing together French and Maldivian artists for three hours of live performances at Male’ City Hall on Majeedhee Magu.

Starting from 9:00pm tonight, organisers at AFM have promised the public a mixture of musical styles ranging from rock and jazz to more traditional boduberu.

Alliance Française is an NGO based in Male’ since 2009, teaching the French language and giving an insight into French culture, and promoting cultural diversity.

The NGO teaches French in public and private schools, in resorts, and conducts evening French classes for adults in the National Library.


Alliance Française marks Fête de la Musique – World Music Day

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.

Anya plays for the crowd
Anya plays for the crowd

“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
of music.