Paris

The cultural meeting point for francophone Africa.

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Singer Youssou N'Dour talks about the profile of musicians in Africa.

Youssou Ndour J'ai construit un studio pour d'abord moi, mais en plus [pour] que beaucoup de gens puissent en profiter. Mais je vous dis sincèrement que s'il y a une proposition qui vient de ma maison de disques Jololi, et une proposition qui vient d'un label chez Sony, les gens ici, la majorité, il prend [sic, ils prennent] Sony. Parce qu'ils pensent que, bon, c'est mieux, il y a plus d'expérience, il y a plus de moyens, il y a plus de visibilité, et je ne le crois pas, moi.

Translation

I built the studio both for myself and for other people to use. But I can tell you quite frankly that if an offer comes from my record company Jololi and another one comes from a label like Sony, most people here would choose Sony, because they think that it is better, that it has more experience and greater visibility and financial means. That is not my view.

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Singer Angélique Kidjo discusses what brings musicians to France.

Angélique Kidjo La plupart des artistes africains qui ont commencé ici, ce sont des artistes francophones africains. Donc, forcément, ils viennent dans un pays où ils parlent déjà la langue, parce que quand on part de chez soi et qu'on parle pas la langue du pays dans lequel on arrive, c'est beaucoup plus difficile à s'intégrer. Donc, de par la langue déjà, on est venu ici, et c'est vrai que, malgré tout, malgré tous les problèmes, la France est toujours encore le pays où les artistes africains peuvent vendre beaucoup d'argent, et avoir... être dans le hit-parade.

Translation

Most of the African artists who have begun here are African Francophone artists. They've come to a country where they already speak the language. Language was the reason why we came here. And despite everything, despite all its problems, France is still the country where Africans can make money and get into the charts.

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A Senegalese DJ underlines the importance of Paris for African music.

Michael Soumah Je pense que le musicien sénégalais a besoin d'abord d'une base, et la base c'est d'abord son pays, le Sénégal. Il faut d'abord que le musicien soit connu dans son pays. Le passage de Paris est très important. Il faut nécessairement que le musicien sénégalais, en tant que musicien en général, passe à Paris pour pouvoir bénéficier d'une promotion véritable. Parce que Paris constitue toujours la plaque tournante de la musique africaine.

Translation

I think that the Senegalese musician needs a base. And the first base is his or her country: Senegal. To begin with, the musician must be known in their own country. But then it's very important to pass on to Paris. A musician from Senegal, or from anywhere else, must pass through Paris in order to benefit from real promotion. Because Paris remains the hub of African music.

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