Banning and Sylvain Hold Court on Zoom!
Report by Dawoud Kringle
On Friday November 18th, 2022. Musicians For Musicians (MFM) Presented its 7th “Music Is Essential” ZOOM Talk Event. MFM Members Banning Eyre and Sylvain Leroux spoke about Leroux’s Music Activism and his Non-Profit Fula Flute Ecole in Conakry, Guinea.
Leroux began with an overview of how he became interested in African music. Eyre guided the discussion in an interview style.
After Leroux’s fascinating discussion, he went into the details of his Non-Profit Fula Flute Ecole (School) in Conakry, Guinea. He also talked about his work on the Fula flute, including his own modifications and innovations on the instrument.
Leroux described the struggles of founding and maintaining the school in considerable detail. His stories about his students and the exuberant way they approach learning the Fula flute were particularly delightful. Another interesting thing that they discussed were the different cultural dynamics and personalities of different cities in Africa.
They opened up the discussion for questions. As is expected from such talks, the questions and answers were challenging, informative, and interesting. One line of questioning brought up the relatively new phenomenon of women at the forefront of African music performances.
At this point they played some music; Banning on guitar and Sylvain on Fula flute. They played a song commemorating Sunjata, the first king of the Malian empire. They played another piece called “Takamba” which had a more serious mood. After fixing some technical glitches, they played two encores.
Despite the poor sound quality of a zoom conference, the beauty of the music was clear.
Attendance of this talk was greater than usual; a record 30 people tuned in.