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Female singer bashes Viviane’s Bercy performance as Gambians continue to criticize Youssou N’Dour
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Female singer bashes Viviane’s Bercy performance as Gambians continue to criticize Youssou N’Dour

“Viviane’s performance was pretty average. I’m sure I would have done a better job if given the opportunity. She’s just a sexy merr and nothing more.” 

This was what a female artist said in response to the criticism that Gambian artists are “unqualified” for a Bercy appearance. 

According to her the country has artists with great potentials, but unfortunately many Gambians take great delight in sabotaging them. 

“Quite frankly, we sometimes overrate Senegalese artists. I mean, they’re not a force in the international music scene. Some of them are successful in their careers because of the support they receive from our own people. Where is the expression -charity begins at home?” 

The Bercy Grand Concert is the brainchild of Senegalese international star, Youssou N'Dour. It is an event that has a strong influence on both Senegambian music and culture. Held annually in Bercy, Paris it attracts great performers from different parts of Africa.

This year’s Bercy marked the return of Youssou N'Dour, after a break to work as Senegal’s Minister of Culture. 

In The Gambia, some local fans were disappointed that no single Gambian artist was invited to perform. 

In an open letter to Youssour N'Dour, Jilani a.k.a Freadyman, a Gambian artist based in Switzerland, wrote: “It is my wish to bring to your attention a personal concern that is also shared by many Gambians, regarding your persistent failure to recognise Gambians in international music gatherings that you hold such as the recent Bercy musical jamboree that has just ended in Paris, France. As Bercy is one of your biggest international shows that you invite artists from other African countries, certainly a good idea, you have failed to invite a single Gambian artist to Bercy.”

Jilani explained to What’s On-Gambia: “Gambian nationals came from all over Europe just to support him. So it was going to be wise and nice of him to at least invite one artist from Gambia which will make us proud and feel that his eyes are on us too.” 

The Swiss-based singer appealed to his country folks not to turn their backs on Senegalese music, but suggested that more airplay should be given to Gambian music. 

“ When you go to Senegal, they limit all foreign music on their radios, all they do is to promote their own first.” 

Clearly it was not only Jilani that took to Facebook to blast Youssou for not including The Gambia. 

One SoyUna Isla wrote: This is what happens when you embrace others and not your own. We might feel a sense of brotherhood/sisterhood with the Senegalese but I don't think they feel the same about us Gambians in general (there's like a sense of superiority in the air from them). Mr Ndour has never bothered with Gambia. We embrace him higher than any of the other African artists but he doesn't care, after all these years it's time to realise people!” 

Another Facebook user, Pa Amadou Sohna chimed in “I think the point here is the consideration of the SENEGAMBIA BOND not who can sing or can’t, all the artist that were on stage are super stars and remember it's music where everyone start in small stages to get to big ones! If we Gambians don't love our own no one will come help us to love ourselves! #Just my thinking! Wa'Salam!” 

However, not everyone was against Youssou N'Dour with Next Kofi telling Gambians to stop blaming the Xale Bi singer and start thinking of creating their own Bercy. 

“Gambians rely too much on Senegal. What for? Why put the blame on Youssou? Why can’t you make up your own Bercy just like you making up your Open Mic dafa doi yy ah. TV you tune in to Senegal to watch why not GRTS, music you listen to Senegalese music why not Gambian music, drama you watch Senegalese drama why not Gambian, football you watch Senegal representing in the World Cup why not your Gambia.. so Gambians shut up and leave the man alone. Peace!”

In a chat with What’s On-Gambia, leading Gambian singer, Singateh said: “If our music is not supported in our own country how do we expect to penetrate outside? I’m sure if you ask Youssou about modern Gambian music, he will only mention Jaliba. If he comes to The Gambia, they use us as warm-up artists and give him all the respect and love. How do you think Youssou will take us seriously?” 

The More Message singer explained that during Youssour N'Dour concerts, local artists are hardly given the chance to interact with the Senegalese superstar. 

“Too much lip service had been offered to our music with no action,” he concluded.

The country’s top rapper, Gee wrote on Facebook: “Been following the ''Youssour Ndure ..Bercy.. Inviting Gambian Artists'' topic that’s been going on Facebook and online entertainment websites lately. I'd say we deserve a chance BUT... That was something he built from scratch and you can’t be mad at any decisions he decides on taking when it comes to his performance list, PLUS he's helping out his own country... 

“Don’t know if ya'll notice the way these guys structured their music scene.. All these HOT Senegalese artists are under one label or management ..if NOT they're still affiliated .. from Viviane, Pape Diouf, Aida Samb, Pape Thiopet and the list goes on. Which makes planning way easier and less competition. 

“If we don’t respect our own how will some other country do? We treat anything from outside superior than our own. Meet some of these Artists in their country or bump heads with them in studios.. they have no extraordinary talent we don’t have... BUT ARE WE USING IT RIGHT?” 

What’s On-Gambia is in touch with a top Senegalese journalist to help in arranging an interview with Youssou N'Dour. Fingers crossed!


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