On October 25th , Boukman Eksperyans from Haiti and Diblo Dibala from Congo. gave the last of their performances at the Transamazoniennes Festival at Saint Laurent du Maroni.
It was the 5th edition of the Transamazonian Festival which took place in French Guyana from October 24 to 26 October 2008, on the premises of Camp Transportation,an old jail facility famous for his hard regime.
“The festival put together people from the Transamazonian region and create a cultural link betwen them,” said Michael Christophe the festival producer.
The performance was fantastic: solid and powerful, with seductively jazz, rock, rasin, african and indian rythmes genre and a drive that never let up.
The crowd composed more of leaving foreigners and very young Guyanese was not huge but the audience response has to have taken some groups and performers such as Boukman Eksperyans, Diblo Dibbala, Gregory Isaacs from Jamaica, Kery James from Haitian descent, Amiral T from Guadeloupe aback. For many, after decades of hearing their works greeted elsewhere with applause by a public who know them here they had bandana and hands waving, from an audience that yelled and whooped and held up cellphones to take photos as they perfomed on stage.
“It is a great pleasure to bring them their ancestors music,” said Mimerose ‘manzé’ Beaubrun
“I was apprehensive because I didn’t know they knew my music, ” said the rapper James who was borned in Guyana but now lives in Paris. James performed Sunday night. He had won the ” Disque D’or’ on March this year. Now 31, he has been singing since he was 12.
Since its first edition in 1997, the festival was established as the showcase of the “Wild West” Guiana, a region of the world little known of the general public but culturally rich.
In French Guyana they speak 15 different languages. There are more than three hundreds villages and five different maroon ethnics called the Bushenege or ‘Men from the woods.
” The Transamazonian region is culturally rich and has a lot of genre and style unknown from the World,” said Christophe who goes up and down on a kaki pant with no shirt on for three days. With his team among them Daniel Hong King he has to manage more than 20 bands.
This year, MOMO ROOTS from Morocco, Daby Toure of Mauritania, Brazil Trio from Manar, BootiMan, Chris Combette, Koloni, Itedaye from the Indian ethnic reserve performed among others.
For two nights, the crowd among them Haitians had the opportunity to see how Boukman Eksperyans’s music can struck someone who came to it entirely fresh and open to get the spirit in. The lead singer Lolo deserves to get noticed. With a colored fabric straddling his shoulders sometimes his head, he gestured intensively all night as if he wants the crowd to not only listen the peace, love and unity message he delivered but to apply it.
“Our presence here is to remind people from Fench Guiana not to be ashamed of where they come from and to embrace their roots culture,” say Manzé.
On Saturday night Diblo Dibala brought a live band and new tracks. As usual he had dancers and costume changes, from gold top and a black skin-tight that revealed all to several whines and rivalling with the Emeraude dancers who performed earlier. It was the kind of behind shaking legs crossing all the girls were doing in the crowd.
The program had a photo exhibit and a Tremplin Amazonian contest for the new groups.
At the end of the concert in between beer, le petit punch- a mix of Guiana rhum and sugar cane syrup and weed smoking everyone said “I have had the time of my life,”.