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Seychelles Francois Havelock gets amazing musical tribute

Seychelles Francois Havelock gets amazing musical tribute ( Derek Savy wrote on the island's Today Newspaper that Francois Havelock got an amazing musical tribute for a funeral which was attended by the Seychelles Vice President Danny Faure, Tourism&Culture Minister Alain St.Ange, Internal Affairs&Transport Minister Joel Morgan, Finance&Investment Minister Pierre Laporte, Health Minister Mitzy Larue, Employment Minister Idith Alexander, the government's Leader of Government Business in the National Assembly Marie-Antoinette Rose, as well as senior government officers and politicians among a crown of fans, family, and friends.

Dereck Savy wrote: It was the perfect sending off for one of Seychelles’ greatest music men! Francois Havelock was laid to rest on Saturday, July 20, following an unprecedented musical tribute in a jam-packed Bel Ombre church on a bright sunny afternoon.

In an impromptu performance that lasted more than one hour, a band came out of nowhere to accompany a bevy of artistes who belted out, all teary-eyed, songs from the maestro. He was surely watching in awe as the two young priests broke with protocol and nodded their approval of such a manifestation.

The service lifted off with an adieu by veteran artiste Patrick Victor who retraced Francois’ musical career and highlighted his enormous contributions to the Creole music renaissance of the eighties. He took heed of Today in Seychelles’ suggestion that Francois deserved a posthumous award by proposing that the country should go beyond that and erect a monument to his name somewhere along the Beau Vallon beach.

The musical eulogium that followed took the congregation by surprise. Huddled in one wing of the church, was the “La Flanm” band. With no less than two keyboardists (Peter Jules, Alain Bacco), a bassist (Keren Jeannevol), a guitarist (George Agrippine), a saxophonist, a trumpeter, a drummer (Francois Larue), other musicians (Winston Albert, Barney Bertin), and Bruce Freminot (Francois’ nephew and godchild), they all played in sync to back a stellar cast of singers. They leafed through a repertoire that sent poignant vibes through the eclectic crowd of several generations that had gathered to pay their final respects.

It was as if Francois had pulled together those artistes for a rehearsal of one of his concerts. The outpouring of grief was given a new melodic dimension with the various renditions. Ralf gifted his own composition, “Mon Lanz” (My angel), while Michelle Marengo (visibly shaken by the event), Serge Camille, Thomas Knowles, Ti-Gary, Joenise Juliette, Jany de Letourdie, Raymond Clarisse, Mervin Camille, Antoinette Dodin, and several others paid tribute. Even Francois’ sister, Jessie Freminot, joined the singers to contribute her own sing-along homage.

All the artistes joined in with a finale on “Mersi pou zot tou” (Thanks to one&all) which then ushered in the funeral rituals by Fathers Colin Underwood and Eric Leon, who both continued with their own musical thread throughout the ceremony.

The SEYMAS (Seychelles Musicians Association) Chairman, Ralph Amesbury, extended his thanks and appreciation to the two presiding priests for being open to the way the family mourned the passing of their loved one, breaking with tradition to allow this joyous remembrance. In fact, the gospel reading made allusion to music being second to the word of the Lord.

“Today's farewell for Francois Havelock was indeed a fitting one. The musicians of our country showed they valued him as one of their very own. They marked the occasion by their presence and with the compilation of his songs they performed with pride and emotion. This show of solidarity was the biggest grouping of the best-known and most respected musicians from Seychelles to have ever come together. I congratulate Patrick Victor for his eulogy, the National Arts Council for playing their part, and the musicians for being united for the occasion. Today we saw the Bel Ombre Church filled to capacity with everyone who cared for and appreciated Francois Havelock, having made it a must to be present for his funeral. The turnout showed he remains a true musical icon of our country," intoned Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St.Ange as he left the Bel Ombre church.

Francois Havelock… sadly departed, you will remain forever in our hearts and your music will live on eternally.


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