AmaniFestival

Playing for change, singing for peace

Illustration
Illustration
Illustration
Illustration
Illustration
Illustration

Emotions and memories at the Amani FestivalPublished on 17 February 2019

“This year’s lineup is the best ever. For me, Fally Ipupa is the best artist at this festival.” proclaims a moto-taxi driver at the entrance to the festival grounds.

Over the course of the three days, a huge number of people from around the Great Lakes region gathered to watch performances by their favorite artists. Grâce, a young woman from Goma, has come to see Fally Ipupa. For her, hearing this Congolese star play live is a dream come true.  

On the first day, when Fally Ipupa steps onto the main stage, the audience is visibly elated. Everyone has turned on their smartphone screens to light up the dark night.

“He’s great on TV, but live, he’s just incredible!” explain two young women, in between dance moves. “In every one of his songs there are messages that really move me,” another adds.

In a completely different style, Franco-Burundian slam artist Gaël Faye, who is relatively unknown in the region, shared an emotional performance with the audience during the second day of the festival.

« I didn’t know him, to be honest, I didn’t know who he was. I just came to the Mini Stage to hear his music,” confides Daniella, who is discovering the star. “A few of his lyrics brought tears to my eyes. The way he describes events in Congo, Rwanda and Burundi is very truthful.” This is also the first time Jules hears Gaël Faye’s music. “His own lived experiences give depth to his lyrics,” says Jules.

There reigned an inexplicable silence during Gaël Faye’s performance, as memories of the violence experienced during the years of war in the Great Lakes region were recounted.

On the third and last day, Yousoupha took it upon himself to bring joy to the festival. “For a few years, I’ve been saying that if Youssoupha plays at Amani Festival, I will attend,” shares Gulian, a young student at Goma University attending the festival for the first time.

Mélanie KABUNGULU