The 2011 Seychelles “Carnaval International de Victoria” will be welcoming Grace Barbé, its famous Afro-Kreol daughter and singer, coming all the way from Australia.
Popular Creole singer and songwriter, Grace Barbé, will return to her country of birth, the Seychelles, to perform at the 2011 Seychelles “Carnaval International de Victoria” being held from March 4-6.
Grace Barbé is a musician with roots in the Seychelles – the tiny Indian Ocean nation that is home to a unique culture that fuses Africa, Europe, and Asia. Raised partly in Australia, Grace Barbé’s music reflects and celebrates the diverse influences of her upbringing – a fresh and powerful blend of Indian Ocean styles, mixed with pop, reggae, funk, and afrobeat – a sound she describes as “Afro-Kreol.”
Hitting the road following the release of her debut album “Kreol Daughter” in late 2008 to a sell out crowd in Fremantle Western Australia, Grace Barbé and her band have quickly become a favorite on the Australian festival circuit, appearing at major festivals including Byron Bay Bluesfest, Woodford Folk Festival, Perth International Festival, and the Australasian World Music Expo. This year, Grace Barbé and her band have been invited once again to perform at the Byron Bay Bluesfest after blowing away the audience with her fresh Afro-Kreol sound. This year, it has already been confirmed, she will be performing alongside Bob Dylan, Grace Jones, John Legend, and Toots & the Maytals.
Grace Barbé has played support slots for acts such as UB40 (UK), Tony Allen (Nigeria), Fat Freddys Drop (New Zealand), The Cat Empire and Xavier Rudd (Australia), Antibalas (USA), Mamadou Diabete (Mali), and Mulatu Astatke (Ethiopia). She recently performed her first show outside Australia at the SAKIFO Music Festival in La Reunion, representing Seychelles/Australia alongside artists like Steele Pulse (UK), Natalie Natiembe (La Reunion), Fefe (France), Alborosie (Italy/Jamaica), Davy Sicard (La Reunion), and Desire Francois & Cassiya (Mauritius). Grace Barbé has also shared the festival stages with major acts such as Junior Reid and Jah Mason (Jamaica), Oumou Sangare (Mali), Gipsy Kings (France), Beuna Vista Social Club (Cuba), and Bebel Gilberto (Brazil).
Twice consecutive winner of the WAMi (Western Australian Music Industry) award for “Best World Act” (2009 & 2010), Grace Barbé is an experienced and vibrant performer with a strong stage presence. She recently became a finalist of the Australian Professional Development Award for her songwriting. Together with her musical director and producer, Grace Barbé hopes to push the Indian Ocean Kreol music and the beauty of the Seychelles islands and its history to the world. A Seychellois living in Australia, Grace Barbé believes this is the time for Indian Ocean island music to shine internationally. With a tight band comprising of members from UK, Mozambique, Mauritius, and Amsterdam, Grace Barbé has already created a big impact in the Australian music industry and her sound continues to grow abroad.
Reflecting the cultural mix heard in her music, Grace Barbé sings in three languages: Kreol, English, and French. Her highly melodic songwriting style has already attracted accolades, including a Song of the Year award in the “World and Folk” category for her song “Mon Ankor Anmoure.”
Using fresh styles hitherto unheard of in the mainstream of world music, such as traditional Indian Ocean sega, maloya, and seggae (a mixture of sega and reggae) and even rhythms specific to the Seychelles, Moutya and Tinge, Grace Barbe’s uniqueness is in her natural handling of so many disparate elements, unfailingly blending them in to an accessible whole.
Leading her band both on bass and guitar, Grace Barbé, who is self-taught player on the bass guitar, has a singing voice that remains her rare instrument of remarkable strength and versatility. She is capable of effortlessly negotiating the startlingly diverse mix of styles perfected by her band. With a highly accessible mix of island roots and contemporary sounds, Grace Barbé will bring her afro-Kreol sound to the 2011 Seychelles “Carnaval International de Victoria.”
Alain St.Ange, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, said that it was important to bring back home a daughter of their Creole islands for such an event as the island’s carnival. “As we say ‘Unite Seychelles’ behind our carnival, we know that we have the obligation to invite back to our shores, our own stars in the world of music who have taken up residence in foreign lands. Seychelles has the duty to promote its own sons and daughters, be it those known as world-wide stars or its able workforce, which remains the pride and joy of our country. We must all be proud to stand behind our very own as we welcome our guests to participate in the event that will be the melting pot of cultures,” Alain St.Ange said.