Great Black Music Expo in Paris

Mama Africa Room
Image courtesy of Cite de la Musique

Mama Africa Room
Image courtesy of Cité de la Musique

The Great Black Music exposition at the Cité de la Musique in Paris debuted on March 11, 2014. A veritable treasure trove of sights and sounds of music inspired by black cultures, this interactive exposition is one that you will not soon forget!

After purchasing your entry ticket, you must first go to the desk where audio guides (in French and English) are distributed. Without one, you may as well not enter the exhibit space because most of what you’ll find there requires access to recorded information and music.

Adjacent to the desk is a room with many posts, each of which has a flat top on which a short video about a black music legend is projected. Some of the persons featured include Miriam Makeba, Harry Belafonte, James Brown, Nina Simone, and Michael Jackson.

The next room is called Mama Africa, which contains several large video screens that extend around the room like a mural. Two or three video clips about music from different regions of Africa are projected on each screen. One could easily spend an hour in this room alone!

Leaving Mama Africa, you enter a room that displays videos depicting voodoo, santería, candomblé, and other sacred rituals, as well as the types of music associated with them.

The adjacent room contains an illustrated timeline that begins with the construction of the ancient pyramids of Egypt and ends in 2011. The viewer is invited to listen to music that influenced, shaped, or was inspired by the particular historic events mentioned along the timeline.

Each of these rooms is exceptionally rich in content and it would be easy to spend several hours in them. Nevertheless, conserve your strength because you’ve only seen half of the exhibit!

Monique Y. Wells

Tom Reeves
Discover Paris

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