Thursday, May 31, 2012

St. Louis Jazz Festival, Senegal

Firstly, how awesome that the new Minister of Culture for Senegal is Youssou Ndour, one of Africa's leading artists.

I've listened to his music since the mid-80's and followed his social activism efforts with United Nations, Amnesty International and UNICEF on issues of health care, human rights and the consequences of illegal immigration. He has developed a micro-finance organization in conjunction with Benetton United Colors to support and encourage small business owners in Senegal and has worked with many musical artists - notably Peter Gabriel (Biko), Sting, Wycliff Jean, Lou Reed to raise awareness for human rights across the world. So great that someone who has made such a worthy contribution on so many levels is acknowledged and honoured with such a position.

AND one of his first order of business as Minister or Culture was to declare, for the first time, that the St.Louis Jazz Festival's (in Senegl) would be free. For a country whose personal income level is barely at subsistence level, one can imagine that such an internationally acknowledged festival would have been out of reach for a majority of the local community, and this gesture allowed for a population, for whom attendance at this festival would never have been thinkable, doable. Very cool.

No comments:

Post a Comment