Franck Nicolas was hospitalized, on Wednesday, May 9, because of his state of health. Guadeloupean trumpeter began a hunger strike on April 24 so that jazz from Guadeloupe and Martinique is accepted in festivals in France; he also denounces the attitude of Pôle Emploi from the city of Montpellier (France) which asks him to pay back 2 years of unemployment benefit.
KARICULTURE.NET publishes the open letter from Martinican singer and musician Tony Chasseur who supports his action.
For 30 years of career, I was in all the news about contemporary music from Martinique, not to say from the Caribbean, with several tours and performances in various parts of the world. I appear, at different levels, on a significant number of albums produced during these last 3 decades.
In 2006, I created the first big band of Caribbean contemporary music, MizikOpéyi.
Since 2010, I am the designer and host of a radio show called “Kréyol Djaz” (Creole Jazz) for the France Television group, broadcast in Martinique, Guiana, Wallis & Futuna, La Réunion, Paris. This radio program allowed me to interview the creators of the style, from the pioneers (Alain Jean-Marie, Mario Canonge, Jean-Claude Montredon) to the young generation (Grégory Privat, Stéphane Castry, Arnaud Dolmen, Franck Nicolas…). So, under this name are grouped the “Jazz” coming from creole lands in all parts of the globe, with characteristics and specificities which are unique to each region and each musician.
The name of this program is inspired by the comments from French festival directors and radio managers, filled with condescension and confirmed ostracism, which can be summarized as follows: “It is not Jazz”. That’s how they consider the Jazz creations coming from Creole lands and using the rhythms endemic to each land as a rhythmic base, whatever the level of harmonic elaboration and improvisation (historical bases of Jazz). Now, we can answer that as there was Latin Jazz or Afro Jazz, today there is “Creole Jazz”.
I even had to hear some remarks from festival directors ordering me “not to sing in Creole” in my performance.
It is clear that the actors of Creole Jazz are discredited and rarely scheduled, or not at all, at the major festivals in France, even if they represent the colors of our country on many stages abroad and receive there recognition and gratification for the quality of their performances.
This sectarianism, assumed in the network of festivals, justifies completely the position taken by Franck Nicolas and I support it without any reservation. It is inconceivable that France, rich in all these overseas cultural components, could let some sectarian individuals, finally with limited knowledge, deprive the French population of the diversity and creative wealth of these lands that are supposed to be in the Republic. They could be a world cultural force that participates in the renown of our country, by the originality and the power of the proposed works.
Please accept my testimony denouncing, like many others, these barriers, these walls, erected in our Republic by people whose function should be the presentation of all cultures that make up our country. It is also a great shout of irritation.