The Seychelles capital of Victoria, usually quiet and dormant at night, was bustling with the melodious sounds of guitars, drums, violins, banjo, brass instruments and others at the weekend as 33 Seychellois bands took the stage at the first ever band festival.
The event held at the mini-stadium, which started at 6pm local time on Saturday evening right through 6am on Sunday, was the brainchild of popular Seychellois singer and comedian Joseph Sinon, who teamed up with other local artists and musicians.
This was an opportunity for bands that have regrouped after being dormant for some years, those who normally play in hotels, those who are frequently on the music scene backing up artists as well as up and coming ones, to wow the public.
Back in the 1970’s until the early 1990s, bands used to be a popular feature in every function including weddings as well as in open air performances in the districts. Today they have been largely replaced by disc jockeys (DJs).
The event was hence aimed at reviving live musical performances in the island nation, with its population of around 93,000 people.
“I am in my forties and I grew up enjoying band performances. Bands have a greater impact on the audience and can offer interaction,” a lady in her forties and fan of the local veteran hit band Waves, says.
According to a member of the organizing committee, singer and musician, Alain Bacco, much more than the 33 groups that could be accommodated on Saturday, had actually shown an interest to take part in the show.
“There are a lot of bands in Seychelles but we sometimes don’t hear about them because some perform on a part time basis. Some used to perform in hotels but with the decline in hotel requests for entertainment their source of income have been reduced,” Said Mr Bacco.
‘Sokwe’ which has been around since 1992 and is quite a familiar name on the local musical scene, was among the groups that performed on Saturday and whose performance was well-received by the crowd.
The group’s manager, Keven Valentin, explained to SNA that they are currently performing on a full time basis in hotels and was happy to have been given the opportunity to play in a local musical show.
According to Valentin, the absence of a proper music stadium in Seychelles over the last 10 years had contributed to the reduced musical performances by local artists, including his own band.
“For fourteen years we have been playing at the St Anne Resort and Spa but it is not enough, now that hotels are reluctant to hire bands. The band festival is a great initiative, it has brought different bands together and this shows that bands have the thirst for such performances,” said Valentin.
“I hope that the festival will bring about what we call ‘bal’ in the native Creole language [live music performance] and that more hotels will reconsider allowing bands to provide entertainment allowing tourists to appreciate our music.”
Source of article: Seychelles News Agency by Julia Malbrook