Discovering and attracting women talents - all-female band makes debut in Seychelles
The all-female band comprising of eight talented musicians and two vocal artists.(Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The 30th Festival Kreol [Creole Festival] may have come to an end last Saturday morning as the traditional all-night Creole ball [Bal Bobes] brought down the curtain on the annual event; but for a group of ‘special’ Seychellois musicians, participating in this year’s Festival was only the beginning of a new adventure.
For the first time in Seychelles, music fans were treated to an all-female band performance on Friday evening in the archipelago's capital of Victoria.
Dubbed 'Fanm dan Zil' [Women in the island] the musical show brought together an interesting mix of talented female musicians playing the guitar, drums, violin, keyboard among other instruments.
It was an opportunity for fans to discover the unknown talents of well-known Seychellois singer Sandra Esparon to play the drums for example, while discovering yet unknown faces to the musical scene.
|Well-known Seychellois female singer, Sandra Esparon, who made her debut ten years ago with group 'Dezil' in 2005, is also good at playing the drums. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
The initiative, to put together an all-female band came from Seychellois singer Joennise Juliette, locally known as ‘Larenn Sega’ in the traditional Creole language [Sega Queen] for the way she moves to the beat of the rhythmic Sega.
“This is a project I wrote two years ago… and said [to myself] why not wait for the 30th celebration of the Creole Festival and introduce it as [something new and different],” Juliette told SNA in an interview.
It was after obtaining the green light from the culture ministry to include the band performance on the calendar of activities for this year’s Festival Kreol that work really started to attract talented female musicians.
After contacting a few women she knew could play different instruments, word started to spread, and in no time she had attracted enough talents to put together the ten member band of eight musicians and two vocalists.
“Frankly I didn’t know that this band existed. I heard people talking about it but I didn’t pay attention, until a friend approached me and gave me Joennise’s telephone number,” recalled 24-year-old Vanessa Lucas, who was playing the drums alongside Sandra Esparon.
|Vanessa Lucas one of the young Seychellois ladies who has embarked on the adventure of forming part of an all-women band. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
It has taken four months of practicing together for the ladies to put up the show, with some support of their male colleagues who Juliette says have been very supportive, not only during practice but their big night as well.
The only male participation in the show however, was that of local band ‘Leko’, which backed up some of the female artists.
|Member of male band 'Leko' accompanying one of the Seychellois singers Octavie. Backing up of some of the singers during the show by 'Leko' was the only male participation in the show. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
“For a first time, we knew that the ladies weren’t going be able to perform for as long as male bands can, but in the long run, we hope that they will be able to perform three to four hours straight,” says Juliette.
“The thing I liked the most about the guys, is that they were always encouraging us. They didn’t put pressure [on the ladies]. They just helped to fix minor mistakes.”
|The woman behind the all-female band - Seychellois singer Joennise Juliette. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
Held under the banner of ‘Lespwar pou demen’ [hope for tomorrow], the performance by the all-female band was also aimed at attracting more ladies to come forward to showcase their abilities and talents.
“I feel that it is a great initiative because it shows we are moving forward. We are seeing a lot of male bands in the country; having the female band we are showing that women should not be afraid to show what they’ve got [and should] not hide their talents,” 16-year-old Corrine Chetty, who was playing the keyboard told SNA.
Aside of the female musicians, some popular female singers in the likes of Jany de Letourdie, Michelle Marengo, Telcy, Joennise herself among others, got an enthusiastic crowd cheering as they performed some of their popular hits.
The Seychellois singers were also joined by fellow Creole artists from Haiti and the neighbouring Rodrigues.
|Fellow female artists from other Creole nations also joined the fun entertaining the crowds at the Mini-Stadium in the Seychelles capital of Victoria on Friday evening. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
Fanm dan Zil was only the beginning of an adventure for the group of Seychellois ladies, as the show was also aimed at raising funds with the organisers already thinking of taking the concert to other Creole islands in the Indian Ocean.
“This would be a great way to promote the Creole Culture and music,” concludes Juliette.
SNA presents a few more photos taken at the musical show which saw the participation of an all-women band for the first time in Seychelles. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY