Manu Dibango’s clarion call for Francophone culture in Rio
Manu Dibango, one of the iconic names of world jazz, visited the Rio 2016 headquarters on 23 November.
He was there on behalf of the International Francophone Organisation (IFO) to sign an agreement of cooperation with the Games organising committee to promote the language and culture of francophone (French-speaking) countries in Brazil.
In a powerful speech, the Cameroonian musician touched on the recent terrorist attacks in the French capital, Paris, and stressed the importance of values such as unity and respect, which are pillars of the Olympic Movement, in spreading world peace.
“We want to show the work of artists from French-speaking countries in Brazil,” he underlined.
To this end the organisations want to develop an extensive artistic, linguistic and sporting integration programme to be launched during an initiative called the World Francophone Journey in Rio de Janeiro next March.
Famous for mixing jazz with African rhythms, saxophone player Dibango offered a tantalising example of ‘Brazilian-Francophone fusion’, playing a number of Brazilian classics such as Aquarela do Brasil and Tico Tico no Fubá, together with musicians from the remarkable Orquestra Cyclophonica, who all play their instruments while riding bicycles.
The partnership between the IFO and Rio 2016 also aims to spread the French language in Brazil by offering educational activities in French for the public, as well as translation services for athletes and journalists during the Games.