You will be forgiven if you arrived in Brazzville with an expectation to see the city’s skyline lit up with an explosive and dazzling fireworks display at night during the celebration of Festival: Les Feux de Brazza. Indeed the name “Feux de Brazza” (Lights of Brazzaville) seems to suggest that, but instead of dazzling pyrotechnic displays, the festival blows you away with an explosive and energetic performances of traditional music.
Following the success and popularity of FESPAM (Festival Panafricain de Musique), the need to create a cultural event, more focused on traditional music inspired the birth of Festival Populaire et International des Musiquées Traditionnelle popularly known as Feux de Brazza.
Founded by Gervais Hugues Ondaye in May 2005, Feux de Brazza was established to safeguard African traditions so that future generations will continue to be aware of the continent’s rich culture. Initially a 3-day event, the festival has since been expanded into a 7-day, week-long international event in recent times.
After the second editions in 2006, Les Feux de Brazza has been hosted biennially to alternate with the older FESPAM. The festival hosts groups of African artists, musicians, dancers, painters and researchers in various performances, workshops, competition and presentation of prizes.
The term feux de Brazza (Lights of Brazzaville) comes from the logs of firewood which are lighted usually by the Minister of Culture to kick off the festivities. According to the organizers, the ancestral tradition is symbolized by the flames (light). Les Feux de Brazza is a challenge to the younger generation to preserve Africa’s exciting culture of music and dance.
Following a series of explosion that rocked the capital in March 2012, the fifth edition of Les Feux de Brazzascheduled for August of that year was cancelled. However, the festival returned in 2014 with the theme “The African Musical Instrument and Its Role in World Music,” and was hosted from the 2nd to the 8th of August.
•culled from www.afrotourism.com