Monday, July 27, 2009

Percussion Festival in Foumban

Saturday morning, I met up with 3 French girls in Bafoussam and rode in their pick up truck to Foumban. Clotide is the French volunteer in Dschang and is blessed with a car. Seeing a girl drive here in Cameroon is really bizarre, but cool at the same time. I haven't driven in over a year, and thinking about it is really strange to me! Shall be interesting when I finally drive a car the next time...!

Anyway, we were off to Foumban for a percussion festival. Foumban is a city in the West province, but unlike the rest of the Bamiléké westies, the city is mostly fill with the Bamoun people, and the Muslim influence is strong there. In the morning, we visited the palace where the Sultan lives. Within the palace is a museum on the Bamoun culture. Just so happened that morning there was some sort of ceremony on the succession of the throne. I am still not exactly sure what it was about, as the case most of the time with these ceremonies. There were lots of people dressed in really pretty clothes though, so I took pictures!



After the ceremony, we visited the museum. This was my second time there. First time was when Megan came for a visit, and we had the tour in English along with Laura and her sister. This time, we had the tour in French. Interesting stuff.

We met up with Dakar, a Cameroonian friend of us who lives in Foumban, and he took us to the market. People are so much calmer here than in Bafoussam. I detest going to the market in Baf. because people just would not leave me the heck alone. Here was much calmer.


The percussion festival was suppose to start around 2pm, but of course we got there well after 3pm and chairs were just then being brought out for the official thing. However, there were various groups playing, so we amused ourselves in that. I am really fascinated by the music and the culture. It's not something I really understand, but interesting nonetheless. Too bad Megan wasn't visiting during this time, she would have really loved it, being a percussionist and all.



The festival is apparently a sort of competition between all the groups. I didn't realize until we came back at 6pm and the event finally began at 6:30pm. Our friend, Dakar, apparently is the MC for the event, and saved us front row seats. Per usual, we had to go through protocols of blah blah blah speeches that took at least half an hour. I really like when the French guy from RFI (Radio France International) got up there and gave his 2 minute speech and in it remarked, "i think we aren't here to hear the speeches, but to enjoy the music. So let's enjoy!" Now, that's more like it.

The four finalist groups played and it was fantastic! Yet unfortunately, after an hour of playing, it was another long thing picking the winner, the criterions, blah blah blah. And the group that wasn't even the best and didn't respect the time limit (they went on for another 5-10 minutes after the MC tried to stop them) somehow won. This is the first time the percussion festival took place, and somehow the winner is the "School of Culture". Makes us wonder if that's somehow related to the "Minister of Culture" who was putting on this event? hmmm...

Despite of it all, the weekend was a good one! Good culture, good company, good food, good weather (no rain all weekend). What more can we ask for?

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