30.04.2013 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Katalin Bogyay, President of UNESCO’s General Conference among jazz lovers in Senegal

©UNESCO/Ismael TineMrs Katalin Bogyay and Mr Doudou Ndiaye Rose, "the master of Senegalese drums" at the gala dinner

Mrs Katalin Bogyay, the President of UNESCO’s General Conference was among jazz lovers attending a gala dinner in Dakar, Senegal on 29 April 2013.

At the invitation of the Minister of Culture in Senegal, Mr. Abdoul Aziz Mbaye, several ministers, philanthropists, music patrons and jazz enthusiasts were gathered to raise funds for the Teranga Jazz Festival Association, which will be in charge of organizing an annual celebration of the International Jazz Day, from 2014 onwards.

“Jazz is a great liberating experience. It is no wonder that as a gateway to personal freedom, jazz was perceived as a serious threat by totalitarian regimes,” said Katalin Bogyay during the gala dinner.

“I remember that jazz was banned or heavily restrained in the Communist dictatorships in Eastern Europe, including in my home country Hungary. Jazz was considered dangerous because it is a window for emotional freedom for both performers and the listeners,” she said.

Mrs Bogyay expressed her admiration for the two distinguished musicians who performed during the gala dinner, Mr. Doudou Ndiaye Rose, "master of Senegalese drums", and Vieux Mac Faye and Samba Diabaré Samb, who have been named “living human treasures" by UNESCO. She also paid tribute to the late Adama Faye, who is considered the father of modern Senegalese music.

Jazz brings people together

Katalin Bogyay explained the importance of the International Jazz Day, which was proclamed by UNESCO’s General Conference, under her presidency, in 2011.

“For me jazz embodies the synthesis of different cultures and traditions into a common language of humanity. Today, more than ever we need the power of jazz to bring people together. It is time to use this instrument of peace to mend ties between people and societies, and to remain united,” she said.

The first celebration of International Jazz Day was at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, in 2012. This year, events are taking place in more than one hundred countries to celebrate this day, from Algiers to Buenos Aires, from Kuala Lumpur to Warsaw, from Lomé to Santo Domingo.

“I am honored to be here, in Senegal, for this wonderful celebration. Although New Orleans is regarded as the birthplace of jazz, the roots of the music are here in Africa,” Mrs Bogyay said. “And let us not forget that the year 2013 marks the beginning of the International Decade for People of African Descent, consecrated to the theme, “Recognition, justice and development for people of African heritage.”

“So it is Africa as a whole that is in the limelight with the celebrations that we are launching tonight in the capital of Senegal,” she concluded.

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