Vive la... Francophonie!

It's March, which means it is the month of La Francophonie, celebrating all things French across the globe. The DC Festival is actually the largest of its kind in the world, uniting Francophone embassies, including France, Haiti, Switzerland, Mali, Senegal, and Lebanon, in conjunction with the Smithsonian, the Quebec Government Office, and the Alliance Française. This year's festival will feature worldwide culinary, literary, and performing arts, March 1 – April 13.

Tomorrow night (Thursday, March 7), the opening reception will take place at the Residence of Gabon, where the Grand Prix de la Francophonie will be awarded. Meanwhile, the Maison Française at the Embassy of France will host many of the festival's rendez-vous, emphasizing the diversity of the French-speaking world.

La Grande Fête, a highlight of the Festival each year, takes place at the Maison Française on Friday, March 22. More than 35 embassies and organizations will put together a stunning display of culinary specialties and traditions of the Francophone world. The evening will feature a live concert by Switzerland’s popular singer-songwriter Bastian Baker, whose pop-folk and catchy sing-along ballads stole the show at the Montreux Jazz Festival and sell-out venues across Switzerland. 

The Maison Française will also present Terakaft, a genuine desert rock band from Mali, at La Maison Française on Wednesday, March 13 at 7:30 p.mAround the World recently described the band as "thoughtful, informed, insightful and worldly...some of the most bracing of the desert blues that has emerged in recent years, with its swirl of electric guitars and steely vocals."  

Well, that's certainly plenty of culture to keep you busy as we head into spring!

There's a chill in the air...

With an impeding blizzard about to strike the DC area, there definitely seems to be a bit of chill in the air, or that could be just some Nordic Cool, the massive festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., with artists and designers displaying art and culture from the very tiptop of the globe (which I mentioned last week).  

I had the opportunity to attend Monday's panel, "From Classics to Crime-Translating Nordic Fiction for American Readers," moderated by Katherine A. Powers. It was a very insightful panel discussion, but for those of you who missed it, the Washington City Paper ran a superb interview with Ms. Allan yesterday.

The festival is winding down, but there still are several more panels, plays, and tastings to be discovered.

Tomorrow, I will be sure to update the DC-based tribe on the Francophonie 2013 Cultural Festival, taking place now through April 13th in the nation's capital. A demain!