French music at its best or the experience of a Singaporean at the Francofolies de la Rochelle Festival
Aiba Roselyne Rosli, Singaporean student and Francophile, was invited by the French Embassy to attend the famous French music festival, the “Francophiles de la Rochelle 2011”, in conjunction with the International Youth Meetings by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs in France. She narrates her experience to us:
25 lucky youths from around the world were selected to represent their nation and to attend the Francofolies Festival at La Rochelle, France from 10th July – 19th July 2011. The music festival is attended by many music-lovers from France and around the world. I was the Vice President of the L’Hexagone French Club in Nanyang Polytechnic and having to represent my club and nation for this avant-garde festival makes me feel proud and happy at the same time. When 25 youths of different nationalities met on such a magnitude at a beautiful town in the south of France it isn’t just merely to attend to one of the world best summer music festivals but it is also a cultural extravaganza.
Having many nationalities coming together serve as an eye-opening experience to learning about different cultures and believes. French language was the language of communication, it was a brand-new experience for someone like me to be in touch with the French language in a French speaking environment, and it has certainly made me improve my vocabulary with all the French words and sounds I’m exposed to when I was there. I also felt like I’ve traveled to many different countries within the 10 days of being together as a group. We not only harbor friendship but such opportunity has lead us to understand and respect each other culture and believes.
The picturesque view of the Saint Nicholas tower by the Scene St Jean d’Acre stage add to the ambiance of the music festival setting. The surround sound system made me feel closer to Zaz and Christophe Maé despite standing quite far from the stage. The singers were very entertaining and they have managed to make the crowd of 10,000 dance with the extraordinary performances, the enthusiastic crowd adds to the concert ambience, the music made the crowd sing, dance and be merry. I’ve never experienced any concert on such magnitude and the feeling was overwhelming to see many music lovers enjoying themselves.
Wanting to go to France was once upon a time a dream but the embassy had given me a great opportunity to realize this dream. Every moment spent at La Rochelle was treasured. The city is beautiful, its panoramic sea view and the summer breeze from the Atlantic Ocean contributed to the serene and calm ambience of La Rochelle. I would certainly return to other parts of France if opportunity arises. The priceless experience there would make me encourage any Francophile who has dreams to go to France to experience it firsthand.
When I was in La Rochelle for the Francofolies; the sight and sounds of music do bring people together. It allows us to experience the same emotions. People everywhere are the same in heart and spirit. No matter what language we speak, what color we are, the form of our politics or the expression of our love and our faith, music proves: We are the same.