As I listen to the songs of the Spanish singer Juanes, I reflect on the significance of this day. This day is not just any music festival, it represents nature. Music is nature, in the chirping of the birds, in the waves hitting the shore, in the trees brushing against each other, in the wind, it is ubiquitous and universal. Music is magic. Music transcends differences. And this event is like a bridge, to bring people together.
On 21st June every year, Fête de la Musique, or World Music Day is celebrated all over the world. It originated in France in 1982 as a music festival. Jack lang, the French Minister of Culture conceptualized it in 1981. According to another theory, American musician Joel Cohen in France, in 1976, proposed an all-night music celebration to mark the beginning of the summer solstice and since then the entire world celebrates World Music Day on June 21. They imagined a day where free, live music would be everywhere: street corners and parks, rooftops and gardens, store fronts and mountaintops.
On this day, musicians all over the world organize and perform for free on the streets, in parks and various other public places to make music accessible to everyone. People come together to bond over music and enjoy the joyous atmosphere. This day is also celebrated to promote peace and goodwill through music.
Ever since, the festival has become an international phenomenon, celebrated on the same day in more than 700 cities in 120 countries, including France, India, Germany, Italy, Greece, Russia, Australia, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Canada, the United States, and Japan.
According to their official site, the Fête has turned into a true national holiday: France shuts down on the summer solstice and musicians take over. Almost 8% of the country (5 million people) have played an instrument or sung in public for the Fête de la Musique.
Fête de la Musique’s purpose is to promote music in two ways:
- Amateur and professional musicians are encouraged to perform in the streets, under the slogan “Faites de la musique” (“make music”, a homophone of Fête de la Musique).
- Many free concerts are organized, making all genres of music accessible to the public. Two of the caveats to being sanctioned by the official Fête de la Musique organization in Paris are that all concerts must be free to the public, and all performers donate their time for free. This is true of most participating cities, now, as well.
The first time I saw the celebration of Fête de la Musique was in my French language Institute, Alliance Française de Bangalore. AFB celebrates it every year with great fervor. They organize many concerts and music related activities for a week. The atmosphere is amazing, beautiful music and people coming together to have a great time.
For me, music is an integral part of my life. I need it like I need air, food and water. My day starts and ends with music. I have a very eclectic taste; I love to listen to the music from various genres, eras and languages.
Music is a universal language, one that everyone can understand it. It is a stress buster, a friend, a mellifluous melody which gives us happiness, courage and strength. Most people listen to music from all over the world, across all genres and across all languages. There is no end to music; there can be infinite permutations and combinations of the seven notes that make up music. And there is absolutely no dearth of talented people who compose these notes into a harmonious melange of sounds to make beautiful music. Each and every one of us can identify with music and it binds us together. If music has the power to unite us, we also have a choice to stay united and forget our differences. Music is nature. And that is the purpose of this event.
Playing music for free for spreading love, goodwill and joy to the people, giving them access to music much more easily and bringing them together regardless of language barriers, is the reason why Fête de la Musique is so important. It is an ode to music and to the people who love music.
Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us – Martin Luther, German professor of theology, composer and monk
Music is the strongest form of magic – Marilyn Manson, musician
Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music – Jimi Hendrix, musician
The world’s most famous and popular language is music – Psy, music artist