India grooves to French music as France celebrates Fete de le Musique

When the French played music, Indians grooved, even as they could not comprehend the lyrics of the renditions. From romantic songs to dance numbers, AKODA—a three-piece Creole Jazz band from Bordeaux—performed a lineup of songs for the packed audience at the National School of Drama.

With this concert, AKODA kickstarted their India tour 2024 and they are next heading to Bengaluru, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Jaipur with the support of the Alliance Francaise network. The decade-old band is led by Reunion Island pianist and singer Valerie Chane Tef, featuring Thomas Boude on bass and Eric Perez on percussions. The trio is popularly known for their successful albums ‘Muzik pou lo ker’ (2019) and ‘Nout’ Souk’ (2022).

Talking to THE WEEK, the lead singer and pianist of the band says that this is her third performance in India and although she has a tight schedule, she will try to find time to explore India. “I loved how responsive the audience was even though we had a language barrier. They danced and tried to sing along (laughs). The audience cheered throughout our performance which was so motivating to watch.”

After the concert, roars of “once more” echoed in the auditorium, forcing the artists back on stage to perform a dance number that had everyone dancing. Valerie says, similar to the Indian music sensibilities, the French also love a variety of songs, from romantic, classical to rock and pop.

The concert was a part of the two-week cultural celebration ‘Fete de la Musique 2024’ featuring three musical groups – Akoda (creole jazz), Greg (electronic music), and Bro (pop), workshops and panel discussions across cities and it is being held from June 14 to June 30.

Apart from concerts, the offline music fest also has a lineup of regional events like break dance competition, Hindustani music soiree, techno night, talent show, Western classical music soiree and so on. The music festival has been organised by the Embassy of France in India, French Institute in India and the Alliance Francaise de Delhi aiming to foster dialogue between France and India and explore diverse musical landscape. According to the Embassy, Fete de la Musique or World Music Day was created in 1982 by France’s Culture Minister M. Jack Lang and is organised on June 21, the day of summer solstice, with the idea of making music freely accessible to all.