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When the music wants to take off its labels

“We must avoid saying + urban music +, it is stigmatizing, are we talking about + rural music + ?: Thérèse, emerging talent, points to the categorization of musical aesthetics which locks musicians in a box.

The term “urban music”, widely used in the music industry and in the media, sometimes takes on a pejorative echo.

“Behind + urban music +, we can imply + music of scum, from peripheral areas +, it’s like when we say + traditional music +, it can imply + music of bouseux +”, summarizes without language Naïma Huber Yahi , historian and researcher.

The one who is also deputy director of the association Villes des musiques du monde participates with Thérèse (“Chinese?”, Percussive single) in a round table within the framework of the Trans Musicales of Rennes (“Are current music really spaces of diversity? “).

This pioneering festival does not bother with labels, programming groups that happily mix flavors like Ladaniva (traditional Armenian song embellished with Balkan folk or Maloya from Reunion).

Blick Bassy has been placed on the “world music” shelf. He sings in Bassa, a language very little spoken in Cameroon, but his musical spectrum is much wider than the name we have stuck to him.

“In England, at festivals or on the radio, it’s a different approach. Youssou Ndour is considered a popstar, not someone who makes + world music +”, underlines the artist, present at the table round.

– Awareness –

“The advent of what we called + world music + crushed what Rachid Taha was doing, he who liked to move between heritage and rock, found himself locked in the raï box, while what he it was more like chaabi, moreover, “recalls Naïma Huber Yahi.

And to add: “and the term + world music + has sometimes been appended from a facies, a language, an origin”.

Stéphane Krasniewski, director of “Les Suds, world music festival” would like “to leave this name to be called + music festival +”, as he said when speaking to the audience. But he is “afraid that we unfortunately still need this categorization to help under-mediated and invisible musical aesthetics”.

“+ World Music + comes from a correction for forgotten music but we end up with this term enclosing”, slips Sophian Fanen, co-founder of the web media Les jours, present at the round table.

“The confinement is also that there are rooms that are assigned to bring this + world music scene to life”, adds this journalist specializing in the music industry.

Sophian Fanen specifies that “the streaming platforms have started to cross out these terms of + urban music +, + world music +, there is an awareness”.

– Act from within –

Jean-Christophe Delcroix, director of the Ile-de-France room “Le Tamanoir”, takes the microphone in the audience to say that he now presents his site as “the place of all the music of the current world”.

To act “from the inside”, Blick Bassy sits “on committees at Sacem, Adami, at the CNM: in these institutions of the musical sector, we artists, we can change things, these labels we try to emancipate oneself from it “.

“We must put an end to these categories, punctuates Naïma Huber Yahi. Our luck is that we will have no choice, young people have chosen diversity”. The playlists of young listeners refuse any chapel.

Billie Eilish, the new muse of American song, 19 years old, has in her headphones Frank Sinatra, Julie London (singer-actress of the years 1950-60), Audrey Hepburn (actress who sang “Moon River” in the movie “Diamonds on sofa “), Antônio Carlos Jobim (figure of Bossa Nova), The Dø (indie pop), The Strokes (rock) or even PartyNextDoor (r’n’b) as she said in Madame Figaro.


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