Starz, the Gambian Mbalah band has returned home after performing in Visa For
Music (VFM) Festival in Morocco recently.
Held from 22-25 November in Rabat, Visa For Music (VFM) is the first professional market of Africa and Middle-East music; it is a new event born in 2013 and organised its 4th edition in 2017, with not only 30 showcases at the center of the project, but also conferences, documentary projections, speed-meetings, workshops and training.
This project was born from a paradox : on the one hand, the lack of visibility for African and Middle-Eastern artists at an international level and, on the other hand, a very important artistic dynamism and musical creation from these musicians.
To fight against this problem, Visa For Music has as first goal to highlight the artistic creation of Africa and the Middle-East, first of all regarding world music and actual music.
Mbye Bittaye, manager of Humanity Starz told journalists that they performed par excellence in Rabat and were able to make lots of contact.
According to him, despite all the obstacles they were able to entertain the international audiences with different genres of music while in Morocco.
“Everybody appreciated the performances of the band during their stage performances that prompted our invitation for 2018 edition for VFM,” he added.
He commended Gambians who stood by the band to make the trip a success which includes Faith Cole, Saul Frazer, Abdoulie Bittaye , Ebou Joof, Modou Lamin aka Egalitarian and the Gambian Ambassador to Morocco
Alieu Badara, lead vocalist of the band said they represented the country in an international festival by raising the flag of the country higher.
He added: “We were appreciated by the audiences because of the originality of the music we play; we will endeavor to play music that will educate and entertain the people around the globe”
He revealed that they are currently working on an international album for wider audiences.
Brahim EL Mazned, Director of VFM , said Visa For Music is a showplace for the African musical identity and gives a good opportunity for artists of the continent to be known by professionals from all around the world through meetings and showcases.
He noted that the quality of the programming is the key factor of the success; balancing guest artists of international renown, emerging artists with high potential, and the promotion of modern Moroccan music, and building strong and clear identities for each sector.
The organisation of the event in Morocco, gate to the African continent and to the Middle-East, allows taking advantage of the national, cultural and musical landscape and also to offer visibility over the rest of the region.
Morocco stands out among lots of big festivals and success of local artists with an international career.
This event is not limited to the musical landscape, since connections were established with a number of industries that are impacted by music, including the film industry and the advertising sector.