Institut français organised a special edition of Fête de la Musique (International Music Fest). As stated by the Ambassador of France Ms. Siv-Leng Chhuor in her introductory speech, “In 2023, the Fête de la Musique also echoes the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship and Association between France and Laos. We could only celebrate this anniversary with an artistic, cultural, and intercultural encounter between our two countries.”
Fête de la Musique started in France in 1982. It was quickly adopted by European countries before conquering the world. Now celebrated in 120 countries, the event promotes music in two ways: “Fête de la Musique” and “Faîtes de la Musique”. Pronounced the same way in the French language, the first celebrates musical creation while the second encourages young people to play music.
On the stage of Institut français, amateur and professional musicians shared various types of music with the public, from Lao, French, and international classical songs to pop and rock music. Most of all, the stage welcomed Aluna Thavonsouk, Lao Music Hub, and the French singer and musician Gatha.
Aluna and Gatha had spent several weeks exchanging views before they finally met in Vientiane to share their repertoire and cocreate songs. They combined their voices, their worlds, and their instruments – the khaen for Aluna, and the cello for Gatha, to bring the best out of their own cultural and artistic influences. The audience of more than 600 people of all ages and nationalities warmly welcomed this new artistic performance throughout the day by singing and dancing along.
France is well-known for its unique way of implementing cultural diplomacy as well as for its commitment to more feminist diplomacy. With this female and cross-cultural scene, France also wishes to highlight the deep words and voices of artistically committed women, to show how sharing singularities builds collective genius and inspires young female artists and leaders to take their place in a mostly male universe.
France is also committed to supporting cultural heritage preservation. As part of Fête de la Musique, a khaen contest was organized on 24 June by Sala Sujipuli in coordination with the Lao Khaen Music Association and the National School of Performing Arts. The competitors, aged between 7 and 18 years old, presented their amazing expertise of this instrument to the Padaek audience.
Ms. Ambassador Siv-Leng Chhuor expressed her satisfaction at seeing the younger generation proudly carrying the torch of khaen practice and reminding us of the importance of also preserving the unique Lao expertise in making this instrument.
Altogether, this joyful and meaningful event, supported by the European Union, Institut français de Paris, Le Fair, BFL, Beerlao, and KP Group brought together more than 50 bands and musicians, expressing the vitality of the Lao music scene.