Thursday, June 12, 2014

Connie Fredericks-Malone Sings at Festival of African Culture

By Tom Reeves

American singer Connie Fredericks-Malone recently sang at a festival of African culture that was held in the Paris suburb of Achères.

Connie Fredericks-Malone Sings Gospel
© Discover Paris!

A former actress and vocal performer, Connie hails from a family of talented performers, including a renowned brother, blues musician Taj Mahal, and a sister, Carole Fredericks, whose soulful voice made her famous in France. An experienced arts manager and public relations professional, she works now as manager and spokesperson for the Carole D. Fredericks Foundation, whose mission is to preserve the memory of the late Carole Fredericks and to promote her musical legacy.

The festival, entitled Journée Histoire et Renaissance (Day of History and Rebirth), featured conferences, expositions, poetry, film projections, literary debates...and a competition for the best African hairstyle! A number of vendors supplied African and Caribbean food, books, jewelry, and art at stands that had been set up around the periphery of the conference hall.

The event was organized by Dieudonné Gnammankou, research scholar and author of a book on the African ancestry of the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, and Joëlle Esso, artist, actress, dancer, singer, and author of a children's book about soccer star Samuel Eto'o Fils. Esso and Gnammankou invited Connie to perform at the event during a meeting held at their publishing house – Degan Editions – where they gathered to discuss an independent project.

Joëlle Esso and Dieudonné Gnammankou
© Discover Paris!

Connie sang three songs - "Amazing Grace," "Children Go Where I Send Thee," and "This Little Light of Mine." She explained that each of them has a special place in her heart:

I've sung "Amazing Grace" for many years and I have my own a capella arrangement of the song. Audiences of all backgrounds recognize the song and love it.

"Children Go Where I Send Thee" is another traditional song that I learned as a child. I first heard Mahalia Jackson sing it, then folksingers Peter, Paul, and Mary. It is a fun song that allows the audience to clap along.

"This Little Light of Mine" was my mom's favorite song. My mother, Mildred Fredericks Williams, was a fantastic singer in her own right. She thought "This Little Light of Mine" was an important inspirational song. I couldn't agree more.

Each of these songs has a strong message which spiritually lifts the listener (and the singer)!

During the festivities, Connie was interviewed by Christina Okello, Paris correspondent for ARISE NEWS. ARISE is a 24-hour news and entertainment channel with broadcast hubs in London, New York, and Johannesburg.

Connie interviewed by Christine Okello
© Discover Paris!

Click HERE to watch ARISE NEWS' coverage of the event - including a few notes of Connie's singing as well as her interview. (Story begins at 20:22 minutes and runs for approximately two minutes.)

Connie and her husband, Jim Malone, spend several weeks in France every year. The Journée Histoire et Renaissance presented a wonderful opportunity for them to connect with the black community in France...

Connie Fredericks-Malone (left), Bwemba Bong (historian and author - center), and Jim Malone (right)
© Discover Paris!

Joëlle Esso, Connie Fredericks-Malone, AfricaSam (photojournalist), and Jim Malone
© Discover Paris!

and sample African and Caribbean cuisine. Connie said among the dishes sold by vendors at the event, she liked the curry and fried fish kebab best. She enjoyed herself so much that she told me she "Can't wait to do it again next year!"

Tom Reeves is the co-founder of Discover Paris!


Entrée to Black Paris!™ is a Discover Paris! blog.

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Awesome, so sorry I missed it. Great and wonderful things that you are doing Connie. Cant wait for my return to Paris. Safe travels, love to all, great event.