Of waning artists and past-it “gurus”

By S. Meshra

Have we Mauritians become so credulous as to tolerate the mushrooming of cheap events management boutiques and the invasion of downgraded artists and management guru? 

We have indeed become naïve and credulous, allowing our naïveté and our credulousness as well as our pockets to be exploited by mushrooming cheap and self-appointed events managers, and mushrooming cheap and self-appointed consultants, with no experience and expertise, with no proven track record, to accept and welcome to our shores, at our costs, spent forces in the artistic and management fields. There are, of course, exceptions, but these exceptions, as rare as the blue moon, confirm the rule that we tend to be invaded by artistic and other foreign performers who are fast nearing the end of the rope, their supposedly best-selling songs and music, their supposedly best-sellers lying idle and rusting on the shelves of music shops and libraries.

How long are we going to be contented with being served archaic and obsolete if not old music and songs, and now trite publications? How long are we going to tolerate doing harm to our ears and injustice to our minds by listening to insipid lectures from obsolete so-called management gurus whose books do not even pass the test of auction? Do our managers become wiser after such listening? Are we so bad that we have to go back to the classroom and be taught the abc of management, when science itself is organized common sense? If so, we ought to insist on a certificate of presence signed by the waning and past-it “gurus”!

There were times when artists of all shapes and kinds, waning in their own countries, were received like kings and queens in Mauritius. The likes of Dalida, Goya, Carlos, Vincent, and not so long ago a cheaply imitative Boney M group, a one-man UB 40, as well as the likes of Singhs, and now the likes of the Udhas’s, and of the Barets, and so many others came, and are still coming again and again to our shores to perform at the nadir of their careers. Admittedly, at the zenith of their careers, they could not be invited over, not only because of prohibitive costs, but also because Mauritius is too small a country for their liking. They could only come when waning, and perform relatively cheaply, both in costs, and in performance itself, when other literate and sophisticated countries could not care two hoots about them. After all, the dynamic world changes so very fast that yesterday’s hits quickly become today’s trite stuff. Of course, classical hits will remain classical hits. Authoritative publications will remain authoritative.

The phenomenon of inviting over artists and so-called pundits or gurus who “batte la moque” in their own countries, and outside Mauritius, continues, and we allow ourselves to be taken in by noisy and aggressive publicity enticing the most naïve and credulous of us to participate in, and attend their shows. You can rest assured that they have a good laugh at our undiscerning taste, while pocketing our rupees and cents, and making their local inviting partners happy by enriching them.

Where have our taste, our discernment, our value judgement, and our sophistication gone? In the pockets of Event Managers, mostly pseudo, who have been mushrooming?

The concerned authorities are well advised to open their eyes on the inflow of such waning foreign artists, singers, musicians, gurus, and pundits, to ensure quality and value for money, and that the public is not taken for a ride and fleeced. Rather, they ought to encourage local artists and performers like the Nalini Dance Group, Aditya, Cassiya, OSB, Eric Triton, and many others who can give such outstanding performances as Alain Ramanisum recently. Value for money, and first-class entertainment. 

* Published in print edition on 23 September 2011

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