Director-General pays tribute to musician Jean Serge Essous, UNESCO Artist for Peace
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today paid tribute to Congolese musician Jean Serge Essous, UNESCO Artist for Peace, who died on 25 November in Brazzaville (Congo).
“I wish to pay tribute to Jean Serge Essous, a remarkable musician who, as Artist for Peace, defended UNESCO’s ideals,” declared the Director-General. She added : “A composer, saxophonist and clarinetist, Jean Serge Essous was a leading figure of the Congolese music scene. His art spread messages promoting intangible cultural heritage, cultural dialogue and exchange between peoples, particularly addressing the young. His death is a great loss to African music and to all those open to the different types of music of the world.”
Born in Brazzaville in 1935, Jean Serge Essous trained to be an electrician and met the musicians of the Diaboula Ballets on his first job. After learning to play the flute, he joined the CDJ group. He then began playing the clarinet and joined Negro Jazz. In 1956, he was among the founders of OK Jazz, a group that left its mark on the history of Congolese and African music. He went on to direct another major group: Les Bantous de la capitale. He also acted as advisor of the Congolese recording company, the Société congolaise de disque (SOCODI).