The launch of the 9th edition of MASA, the Market for African Performing Arts, has been held in Cote d’Ivoire’s capital, Abidjan.
The festival has in the past been attended by thousands of enthusiastic supporters in the Ivorian capital and has become an important feat that showcases the creation of a contemporary African event.
More than 2,000 groups and artists have confirmed participation in the event that is scheduled to take place later in March and culminate early April.
Emotions are there. I found a framework that I know and then it reaches a time when there is an extraordinary atmosphere.
Over the weekend, hundreds turned up for the curtain riser ceremony that set the stage for the festival.
On stage, three artists representing three different generations entertained the crowd with a unique composition.
N’goni Bassekou Kouyate, a Malian who has mastered the roots of African traditional music with pieces like “Segu blue” and “Jama KB” is among the eagerly awaited singers on stage for this year’s edition. His composition left the crowd yearning for more.
Building a tempo that echoes peace to the audience, 82 years old Cameroon saxophone legend Manu Dibango also did not disappoint.
“This is really beautiful but we have to select the best three in each category,” said Dagri Diabaté, a history professor and who is also the grand chancellor of Ivory Coast’s national commandment.
Albert Francois, Ivorian Minister of Sports, was also among the audience.
“Emotions are there. I found a framework that I know and then it reaches a time when there is an extraordinary atmosphere.”
MASA is uniquely segregated to two different types of platforms.
MASA IN concerns artists and artistic groups that have been officially selected by the artistic committee. All expenses related to their participation including accommodation, food, international fares, local transportation and fees paid for the performance are paid by the MASA organisers.
On the other hand is the MASA OFF which is a platform for famous artists and less known artists not on the official selection list to perform at the festival. Groups performing in this category are expected to meet their own costs.
The organizers of the event say MASA’s 9th edition will be held under the theme of “Reinventing the performing arts”.