« Maronnage »: Music, Dances & Politics
Africaphonie or the voices of Africa. Black polyphonies. Our festival has the ambition
of freeing the voices of the descendants of the African Diaspora, whatever the ways they have
paved or through which they will go, whatever the tone, the rythms, the ideas they may use.
From Africa (Senegal, Benin, Congo…) to the former Caribbean colonies (Guadeloupe,
Martinique, Réunion, …), all those people gathered – through the Nigger, Black, Césaire-wise
or Price-Mars-wise identities – call or the others’ interests, toward Paris, mouths desirous of
giving their messages and vibes; generous hands whose skin is peeled tired of beating the
drum (djembe, ka, …) in search of ears to hear and eyes to look in return. Sharing. Emotion.
But also spirit-wise.
Since its creation by Origin’ association and its first edition in 2007, Africaphonie
invites to travel with “transhumance” concerts : before our souls to get dried, Africaphonie
offers other pastures to those who move massively to be culturally fed or to find their origins
back. This musical feeding is all the more various as it comes from all over the world, the
Black Polyphonies :
The first edition which took place in 2007 at La Bellevilloise, and the second edition,
in 2008, at Le Cabaret Sauvage. Origin’ proposed through its festival diverse demonstrations
and various media of broadcasting and valuing of those “Black” experiences. Short-movies,
debates, conferences, workshops (music, dance) and shows.
The third edition, in 2010, at La Bellevilloise, has proposed a two-set festival: a
conference entitled “The African Diaspora, 1960-2010: building of an Afro-French identity?”.
A primordial issue is questioned here – while France is shaken by its exhorting by the
Governement of defining the meaning of the National Identity – “And the Afro-French
identity?’. Between the celebration of the Abolitions of Slavery – which is Africaphonie’s
raison d’être – and that of the 50th birthday of the African independences, we had to be
reminded of those five decades of decolonization and of reappropriating os self-identity and
history among those former French colonies. The subsequent show gathered artists such as:
Milk Coffee and Sugar, Lord Ekomy Ndong, Valérie Belinga, Hermann (Guadeloupe), Elsa
Martine (Guyane), ou encore Erik (Guadeloupe).
Africaphonie invites to project ideas, to debate, to wonder on issues intrinsical to our
societies and diasporas. In 2011, the debate wants to be a display of plurality and eclectism
through its shapes, forms, expressions and speakers. This debate will be a Circle which will
welcome – over a whole day – artists, scholars, and intellectuals.
We want the conference to be a crossroad of visions, viewpoints and crossed
discourses, crossed approaches between scholarly analyses and research, musicologists, arttherapists,
musicians, dancers-choreoraphers, and so on. Musicians and dancers, Why?
Because the object of this conference will deal with the musics and dances of revolt. It is
likely that some artists have produced musical and dancing trends which were the result of the
social and political circumstances wherein they have emerged and developed, both artists and
Besides, Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) wrote about Jazz (Black Music in White
America) demonstrating how this today universal music has evolved and experimented
mutations, between European-wise (created by Caucasian musicians) and African-wise trends
(created bu Black Americans), between reapropriation and alienation, between action and
reaction. From Smooth Jazz to Free Jazz, from Swing to Bebop, from Work songs to Gospel,
and so on. A continuum made of breakings and fusions for a bright, living and organic music.
This conference will take place in May 2011, with the everlasting purpose of
celebrating the Abolitions of Slavery, and this, through the music and Dance of revolt,
through the concept of « marooning » and the art expressions of the “Black man”. From
bodily maronnage (traditional musics and dances, drumming, skin instruments) to cultural
maronnage (« urban roots », music and dances , 21st century) passing through the
intellectual maronnage (contemporaneous music and dances, 20th century), our art
expressions would be interwoven with our determinations, stances and involvements.
Periods Slavery 1930-1960 :
Kinds de Traditional Contemporeanous « Urban-Roots »
Music and dances Rara Jazz Hip Hop Ka
Gwo Ka Reggae Trip Hop
Maloya Afrobeat Soul Kréyòl
Bèlè Hip-Hop Nvx courants
Music and Dances of revolt and the circumstances of their
- How have those musics and dances of revolt appeared? Analyses of the sociological
and/or sociopolitical circumstances.
- Can music/dance be seen as a lever of revolt?
- What is the musical or instrumental discourse? (ethnomusicology, musicology,
musicians, dancers, dance anthropology …)
- The body of the « maroon »: a discursive process in opposition with the established
order? A body in opposition?
« Marooning »: becoming a “Nigger”? Claiming its Blackness?
- What is a maroon ? Half and a century ago? In the 20th century? Today?
- What are the great periods of identity, racial and cultural acknowledgement and
- Do the musicians of those periods consider themselves as maroons? Rebels ?
Music and Dance: outlet for social discrepancies and historical
frustrations and/or struggling tools?
- What is the link between dance and music in the maroon art expressions?
- To which extent artists take part into the political process? Is there involvement out of
the artistic field?
- Are there artists involved into the democracy, political, community processes?
Are there forethinkers, pioneers, political leaders among them?
The conference will take in May 12, 2011 in Paris. The first Africaphonie conference
report will be published this year. We are interested in all the countries, departments,
islands belonging to the African Diaspora (Africa, French Overseas Departments, North
Bodily Maronnage Intellectual
It is about keeping memory of this conference and a reference book (under
acceptation of Mr Bidjeck) accessible by all.
For any contribution, (scholars in particular) and whatever your specialityies and expertise, send your name, speciality, title, institution, and a 150-word abstract (english
and french) to Stéphanie Melyon-Reinette, PhD (see address hereunder).
For artists desiring to participate in the conference panels: give style and music trend,profession (singer, musician, choreographer, dancer…), name of band/company to
Stéphanie Melyon-Reinette (see address hereunder).
Deadline: before March, 1st 2011.
Dr. Stéphanie Melyon-Reinette, PhD by email : firstname.lastname@example.org.
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