Home MUSIC COMOROS – When orality lands in Mbéni, the “city of minarets”

COMOROS – When orality lands in Mbéni, the “city of minarets”


A cultural and artistic storm is approaching the city of Mbéni, in the Comoros: the Bangwé International Festival of Orality (FIBO). For its first edition, it will extend from 23 to 28 May 2022. On display: Fair, Shows, Great night of the orality, Master-classes,… It promises.

The association Kam’art Culture, directed by the artist-slammer El had Ahamada, will stir up the beaten paths. Comorian orality, which is rarely considered as a whole, must henceforth be valued at its fair value: with respect and admiration. It will show the world a Comorian cultural landscape far from the clichés.

Orality is always interesting because it has kept a poetry, a secret charm that writing, however manly it may be, has never managed to deflower. It puts in direct contact, a sort of one-on-one. Speech is a combination of visual phrases in which everything can be said with charm and eloquence: from “ecology” to war, from “social cohesion” to peace. Nothing will be forgotten. But first, to speak correctly, two things must be done upstream. Which ones? ” A perfect mastery of language and public speaking are instruments of art” that the festival through “master-classes and training workshops” will try to fill.

Oratory art is a real cultural and artistic capital. Words speak, poignant. Sentences tell admirable stories. Oratory art is the art instrument par excellence: words collide, rub, join forces to gallop to a single destination: the thought of another soul. Intellectual emancipation requires the “professional training of young people in arts and culture”, said El Had Ahamada. This festival, which will honour the great names of Comorian culture, will attract “international guests”.

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Some will ask the question: Why Mbéni? The reason is quite simple. But, we will borrow from the Comorian historian Mousa Said Ahmed, this phrase from one of his works: Warrior, princes and poets in oral literature (L’Harmattan, 2000, p. 63): «it is in the Hamahamet [Mbéni] region that the art of the word is best preserved». Years before, at the time of the sultans (15th to 19th century), this region was full of “talented speakers”. It is also in this region that “Ahmad Qamar al-Din (1895-1974) was born, the father of the versification and fixation of Comorian poetry. Indeed, during the 1960s, mainly, he inaugurated a new way of writing poems in Comorian, integrating rhymes (qâfiya) and measure (mîzân)”. These are some of the reasons why “our event will take place, [which will be] an opportunity to celebrate this art and pay a great tribute to these talented personalities who have contributed greatly, said the initiator of the project. It will also be an opportunity for many to get to know Mbéni, “the cultural capital of the Comoros” which is no longer to be seen as it is bubbling with “national and international cultural events.”


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