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June 17, 2011

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French celebration of music goes global

VOILà! The annual Fête de la Musique, or "World Music Day" to non-Francophones, comes to Shanghai tomorrow and Sunday with a weekend of free music events.

The festival began in France in 1982 and aims to promote musical talent professional or otherwise.

It is taking place in more than 30 countries this year and this is the second time it is being celebrated in Shanghai, with last year's event including a show at the World Expo and performances by a mix of professionals and amateurs from home and abroad.

This year's event will continue in that populist spirit with more than 50 acts confirmed and many others expected to join.

The festivities will kick off tomorrow at 800 Show (800 Changde Road) with a concert from 4-11 pm. The music will range from folk to indie rock. Among the acts will be French electro-pop duo Curry & Coco, who previously performed in Shanghai in December.

That show was held at club Lune where "the crowd was very into it," according to Xiao Zhong of local band Pairs, who also were on the bill.

Saturday night's program will end with a "block party" at bars Anar (115 Xingfu Road) and nearby Dada (129 Xingfu Road). Both venues will feature electronic music from 10pm until early Sunday morning.

The musical festivities will continue on Sunday. Outdoor concerts will be held around the city beginning in the afternoon at Xintiandi and Wharf 1846 (601 Waima Road).

Sunday night at Mao Livehouse (308 Chongqing Road S.) from 7pm until early in the morning will be a live "jam session" featuring a host of musicians playing improvised music. Anyone is welcome to come and contribute to the event, which has the potential to be exciting if not mellifluous.

The jam session is a favorite of Gabriel Bancaud of the French consulate in Shanghai, one of the organizers of the event.

He says one of the major goals of the festival is to encourage local professionals to get involved.

"Ideally, in a couple of years the Shanghai people will continue Fête de la Musique without the French consulate being involved with it," says Bancaud.

More information on Fête de la Musique can be found at


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