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  • Hubert Marlin

MUSIC IN THE FRANCOPHONE SPACE, BETWEEN LETHARGY AND RISK OF CULTURAL GENOCIDE


Music is the most popular cultural expression, over the centuries this art has become a social phenomenon, in countries of the northern hemisphere which remain the pillars of this industry, it is an activity that employ Thousands of peoples while generating billions of dollars every year. Huge amounts of money that have made for a while ago this industry a matter of the state, despite the liberal profession title and free enterprise appearances. If England and the United States are the leading figures of the English song, Canada with Quebec and France are in turn driving forces of Francophone musical activity. In a duel marked by conviviality that may be linked to the maxim that says, music softens the manners; the battle is no less lethal. Also, if in the 60s and 70s this duality seemed fair, the one and the other producing music for their respective market, the 90 have tipped the scales decisively toward the Anglo-Saxon music, which since has not been shy to take ownership of significant market shares in the Francophone space often by sneaky way. Because in fact when it comes to capitalism and promoting certain ideals, the uninitiated are far from imagining that behind every concept, hides an ideology that aims to sometimes, change who they are. Changing the behavior of the masses and the cultural identity of peoples, helps to format individuals to make them more suitable for consumption of certain products offered by certain entities, that have in design, material gain, social, economic and political domination.

Also in the world stage the Anglo-Saxon culture over the past fifty years, seems to have taken the ascendancy over all other genres of musical expression through language. In view of all this, it is important to ask the question why the French-speaking music and by extension the music produced in the Francophone area lags behind in front of the English armada? The first answer to this question is closely related to politics and technology, in the opinion of players in the music scene as Jenny Salgado a French-speaking Canadian musician, “music is above all a political tool, also music produced obeys a certain formatting of those who sponsor it and put it within reach of the general public, as the music produced is only a reflection of the willingness of sponsors motivated by a certain agenda”. The Canadian singer former member of the iconic group of Canadian Rap, Muzion goes further by explaining that no artist reaches the highest level without having behind a strong political will of governments as well as corporations, which in the real interact in a coordinated way to a common agenda with governments, since some get their power with the help of others and vice versa, in this game of underpasses, the lay public has no chance to understand, why all the time there is a certain kind of music and artists that are programmed on all media platforms offered by the technology of this era. Precisely speaking of technology and its influence on the genre of music consumed by the masses, the music produced in the English-speaking area has experienced tremendous progress, which is matched only by the technological advances of Anglo Saxon countries, that since the Victorian era and the Industrial Revolution that followed, has important assets in its ambition to assimilate the rest of the world to its culture and lifestyle. An assimilation which can only be done at the expense of other cultures, that outwitted, are being phagocytosed by the Anglo- American axis. While it has often been commonly accepted that English is the language of machines, it is clear that these machines have always given precedence to the Anglo-Saxon genre. The 90 with the explosion of electronics, cybernetics and informatics, have only accentuate this advance of the music produced in the Anglo-Saxon countries. The only exception involving the technology advance involving the spreading of its culture to others is the electronic revolution of Asian countries, which despite their great step in the field of electronics have not been able to impose on the world their culture with new media that they could develop so far. The fault no doubt to the blatant difference between their languages and the rest of the world and also and especially because of the fact that proud of their culture that they think to preserve by practicing it themselves exclusively, they remain traders very little looking at politics, They are content to produce technological supports for the Western market without influencing or being influenced. The second most obvious reason of the decline of the music produced in the Francophone world is linked to the American expansionism. Ideology is the tool that defines future political ambitions that often are materialized perniciously in music, also after the signing of the Treaty of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA in English North American Free Trade Agreement, in Spanish Tramadol de Libre Comercio de América del Norte, TLCAN), a treaty that entered into force on 1 January 1994, creating a free trade zone between the United States, Canada and Mexico in a market of about 480 million peoples, which should ultimately merge Canada and the United States into a single entity with a common currency. One of the direct consequences of this state of things is that the Canadian Federal Government, has been gradually eliminating swathes of its support to Francophone cultural effort of Quebec, under the pretext of economic conditions when the Anglophone music industry is carving the lion's share with the United States making a point of honor to support Canadian musicians of English language with their recording companies that have under contract Canadian artists, renowned at the world stage, all in a final goal of colonization of North America. This design is also visible in sport in the NBA, or MLS where Canadian teams are allowed to participate in the national championship of a country that normally is not theirs, in the standards by the time the NBA or MLS is admitting Canadian teams, its name should change to be faithful to the diversity of its members, it would more accurate to be labelled, North American Basketball Association (NABA). Anyway, when it comes to certain sports Canada is already a part of the United States of America. In France and in the countries of the southern hemisphere if the French musical activity remains dense, due to a public who still somehow continue to give it a certain support, the phase shift is enormous when it comes to compare the music coming from the Anglophone space and the one produced locally. The French and African markets in this case have been invariably deeply penetrated by the English-speaking area culture. Blame it on the colonial policy, followership of France of the policies defined by its US ally, and on the abusive copycat of the American type by French artists. An attitude that rather helped to level the playing field for the American original, who reigns in supreme in the Hexagonal ratings. American artists in France are filling stages while very few French musicians nowadays can attract a crowd both in their home country and abroad. The colonial paternalism of France as well did not help the outbreak of the French cultural space, with extreme centralization of business divisions and an unhealthy denial of the transfer of technologies related to the will of the sustainability of the policy of extraversion in its former colonies.

France by influencing the socio-economic fabric of these countries, has dealt a fatal blow to the blossoming of culture in the Francophone world, it is almost laughable that the main promotional effort of music in an area full of cultural treasures such as Africa, is the prerogative of one radio, and a cultural cooperation agency which since died out, replaced by an international agency of La Francophonie which remains nonexistent in the field of culture but prominent in politician lobbying. Generally, to kill a concept, some create another model with the aim to phagocyte the earlier. Since a certain economic austerity has forced France to join the agenda for the New American Century in the late 90s, France found logic to dispose of its agency for cultural and technical cooperation in 1995, a date that coincides more or less with the Treaty of the North American alliance, which is in line with the ambitions of world domination of Uncle Sam. The arrival of the right wing to power in France a natural ally of the USA despite the Gaullist orientation of President Chirac crystallized by a no to the second Gulf War, will help the upheaval of the French audio-visual sector, which will be formatted to better meet certain expectations, which did not promote the culture of the black Francophonie, some channels aimed to Africa will be simply switched off, yet with the cultural development born from the generation of the 90s, with the cultural revival breathed by the leftist President Mitterrand in the 80s, France had an advantage therefore to safeguard its francophone market , and it is surprising that some decisions were taken in a period of crisis to sacrifice a sector yet profitable, that would have helped to contain the crisis creating opportunities. When one knows, what is the contribution to gross domestic product of culture in some countries, it is reasonable to ask the question, why it was necessary to sacrifice a profitable sector, and de facto offer this market to Anglo-Saxon culture. Artist of African ancestry who were beginning to crowd, were probably not politically correct, their gentrification, and their mood movement probably bothered a certain France jealous of its aristocratic past. 20 years later the situation is bitter, music of French expression as well as the music produced in francophone countries is a dwarf compared to the Anglo-Saxon giant, yet there is no lack of talents in French-speaking space, to do better. Despite the talent and passion of some, there is a serious lack of political will and structures, that augurs nothing good, and the worst is the Anglicism formatting that has made significant toll on the population of the French-speaking countries, so it becomes very difficult for musicians to sell in this space without Americanizing their art. So even if here and there, one can see some bursts of pride, the savvies are equally witnessing a cultural genocide that seems to offend no one as morals appear to have reached a level of unspeakable perversion. However, the moral of the story and the solution is in Africa crucible of world musical culture, only Africans have the power to change the situation of the music produced in the Francophone world if only one music genre like rap and hip hop borrowed by American afro descendants to the griots culture has done so well, the continent teeming with unspeakable galaxy of musical genres, should find a good solution to this problem, only if African themselves were to become aware of their cultural richness to use it wisely, with the help of modern platform of this era, since the Afro American and Caribbean diaspora, seems more concerned to be accepted in the western world these days and are far to think about returning to their roots and to build a market like Africa with its billion and more inhabitants. African musicians have a nice shot to take, in any case even without the use of French as singing language, some lovers of the colorful Francophonie have understood that culture in the francophone space cannot live without dealing with Africa.

By Hubert Marlin. Elingui Jr. Journalist Writer


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