Exchanging modern music and urban culture: the Marseille-Kinshasa project

February 2005 -

The CAURI project in Marseille and Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo) is bringing French and African musicians together, in order to collaborate in the fields of modern and electronic music and in new trends in the urban environment.

This project is an initiative of AMI (Aide aux Musiques Innovatrices). AMI was set up in 1994 and operates from a former tobacco factory in Marseille. The centre wants to provide a platform and meeting-place for musicians. It organises workshops, courses and concerts and is working on setting up a network that will extend beyond France's borders into other countries too. In recent years, AMI has been active in the field of international cultural exchange and collaboration, with some of the projects being based in Marseille and some in foreign cities. The thinking here is that the meeting up and the mutual inspiration are more important than the actual creation of musical productions.

The CAURI project was launched in 2004 and runs until the end of 2007. Professionals affiliated with AMI present workshops and master classes. Kinshasa is home to workshops on stage direction and sound, acoustics, music and computers, and multimedia and web design. The Belgian composer Thierry De Mey runs a master class for composers, who write music for theatre, dance or film productions in Africa. Many activities make extensive use of rap and hiphop music, which AMI believes are the musical forms that bring together various generations’ cultures and that act as a meltingpot for influences. And that’s not all - a French fashion designer organises urban culture and fashion workshops where young designers in Kinshasa and Marseille can get together, learn and exchange ideas.