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GAMBIA: ALLIANCE FRANCAISE ARTISTS RESIDENCE NAMED AFTER LATE MUSA NGUM

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To keep alive the memory of one of the Gambia’s finest artists and mbalax musicians, late Musa Ngum, the Minister for Higher Education, Research Science and Technology, Professor Pierre Gomez and Monsieur l’Ambassadeur de France in Banjul on Monday named and inaugurated the Artists’ residence located at the Alliance Francaise after the late Gambian musician Musa Afia Ngum.

The project was initiated by the board of the Alliance Française de Banjul following its election in October 2021.

The inauguration was marked alongside the celebration of the International Day of La Francphonie. The theme for this year’s celebration was “321 million Francophones, billions of cultural contents.”

Minister Gomez who doubles as the President of the Alliance Française de Banjul board of directors stated that the residency (“Maison des artistes – Musa Ngum”) is named after the late great songwriter and composer.

He recalled that Ngum was one of the pioneers of mbalax music, and “helped to define the mbalax style of popular music in Senegambia.”

 Alliance’s board chose to name the residency after him in order to pay tribute to his work, his legacy, and his importance for Gambian culture, he added.

“Musa Ngum’s commitment to the development of Gambian music and to strengthen the links between Senegal and The Gambia made him a figure both of humanity, and of artistic creation, which perfectly corresponds to the ideal we are aiming for this artist residency. We would like to thank the family of Musa Ngum for accepting the attribution of his name to this place,” he said.

He said that the artist residency will serve many purposes, noting that the main one is to support cultural creation. By welcoming artists, he said the residency allows the Alliance to support French and French speaking cultural creations, as well as Gambian cultural and artistic entrepreneurship.

“There are several residencies planned for the season (2022/2023). A lot of musicians, photographers, cartoonists or actors are going to prepare cultural projects in The Gambia, thanks to our residency. Cultural creations and representations are an essential part of Alliance Française work, and that is why this residency needs to be fairly considered as a way for us to offer Gambians a more active and diversified cultural life,” he concludes.

Philippe Lalliot, Monsieur L’Ambassadeur de France in Banjul noted that his visit gave him the opportunity to further strengthen the relationship between the two countries. He noted that the residence will serve a pivotal role in supporting artists of various perspectives, such as painters and musicians, among others.

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