Festival Mizik Jakmel

World music lovers listen up and get ready to pen this one on your festival calendar if you haven’t already. On May 25-27, 2007 a beach not quite as well known to the world as those on the neighboring country will play host to the Haiti’s first international music festival.
Jacmel is just 25 miles south of the country’s turbulent capital and yet worlds away from the headlines that too often keep visitors away from the country as a whole. Festival Mizik Jakmel will include 24 bands from across the globe with Stephen and Damien “Junior Gong” Marley headlining the free event. In addition to the live shows parallel events include a tourism conference, art events and workshops. An attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest drumming ensemble will also take place. As of now India currently holds the title by having 7,951 people drumming continuously for five minutes in 2006. The organizers of Festival Mizik Jakmel are hoping to have 10,000 in attendance and anyone is welcome to bring a drum and join – though you might want to register online first. For complete details I suggest swinging over to the official event website and if you can’t quite make it or find an affordable ticket to the island look into other ways to join in from afar.

Red Hot & Riot in Brooklyn

When I read the news on the Red Hot & Riot Live concert going down at the Brooklyn Academy of Music next weekend, December 1 & 2, I nearly flipped my wig. With a friend of mine leaving for Africa today to play in a series of concerts (one of which includes a World AIDS Day show) and this too-good-to-be-true-to-believe concert line-up right in Brooklyn I could barely contain myself. Not only will my friend and I be connected in spirit by an echoing drum beat moving waves across oceans, we’ll be celebrating and contributing what little we can to help the AIDS situation in Africa and locally. I can’t speak on the details of the show my pal will be performing at only because I do not know, but I can share with you all that I know about the one going down at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Performers for the two-night event include Tony Allen, Amadou & Mariam Cheikh Lo, Dead Prez, Keziah Jones, Les Nubians, Meshell Ndegeocello and Yerba Buena. Created as a tribute to the late Fela Kuti and Afrobeat music, the two nights of music will bring acclaimed African artists together with a younger generation of international artists in addition to raising HIV/AIDS awareness in the community. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the African Services Committee. The organization is NY based and promotes the health and self-sufficiency of local African and Caribbean immigrant communities through the provision of HIV/AIDS care and support services. In other words you’ll want to be there if your calendar happens to be bare on December 1 and/or 2, 2006. I’ll be in the building both nights.

See bam.org for ticket information.

Word for the Travel Wise (09/23/06)

Everyone has a favorite musician they’d take a loan out at the bank to go see in concert if it were the last concert ever being held in some rare exotic place like Easter Island. I have a couple I would go out on a limb and do such for; the first being Björk, second Sade and the third I’ll give to Les Nubians. After seeing the two Cameroonian sisters perform live in Los Angeles I was sold. Listening to a few of their songs now hoping they’ll do a show somehwere nearby soon. I really don’t want to do the loan at the bank thing. Smile.

Today’s word is a French word used in Cameroon:

croire – believe

English and French are both official languages of Cameroon.

French is the third largest Romance language in the world in terms of native speakers according to the Wikipedia and is the official language of 29 countries. There are a number of places to learn French abroad which include Canada and Switzerland in addition to France. Amerispan offers immersion programs in all three of the countries and more info can be found by clicking here. Search other study abroad programs at some of these sites here: Coeur de France, Accord French Language School, and Transitions Abroad to name only a few. Swing over to My Language Exchange where you are sure to find someone willing to exchange their lingo skills for some of your own. Free online sources for learning French include France-Pub, French Assistant, and the BBC Languages.

Past French words:
confiture, difficile, frottis, ma reum (mère), pensées, vélo