This has never happened since the birth of Musique Action in 1984, at the André Malraux Cultural Centre (CCAM) in Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy, and it is happening for the second consecutive year: in May 2021, as in May 2020, the festival is cancelled due to the health crisis.
This sudden stop is a thunderbolt for an audience fond of new experiences; for dozens of programmed artists who see a beautiful platform for their most daring proposals close; but also for the CCAM team, the oldest as well as the newcomers, deeply committed to a historic festival, in full recomposition since the recent arrival of its new director Olivier Perry, at the end of 2017. We thought it was impossible. Only once in its long history had the festival been forced to close its doors, in 2009. It had been directed by Dominique Répécaud since 2000, one of its initiators, who had obtained the label scène nationale for the CCAM that same year. In solidarity, dozens of artists came to play for free during a resistant "Stand by May". Nobody stops Musique Action!
So Olivier Perry and Anne-Gaëlle Samson, deputy director, decided, after consulting the team, to propose a "catch-up session" in September 2020, and again in September 2021. These two sessions will bring together over a long weekend some of the artists who were supposed to perform at the May festival and will offer the public the opportunity to meet again and mark this annual milestone. Everyone in the team agrees that it would be impossible to give up, even if the catch-up only lasted one evening.
Obviously, this September session no longer has the coherence and logic of a year-long programme: the festival week is concentrated on three evenings only, and many of the invited artists are no longer free, in the rush of commitments and postponements due to successive confinements and deconfinements. Thus, some of the projects initially planned will be included in the next edition of Musique Action (Fata morgana by ErikM with the Dedalus ensemble), or even in a more distant and hypothetical future(The Stringless Piano by Francisco López and Reinier Van Houdt). But as Olivier Perry points out, " What remains is curiosity! »
This festival with its long history, committed to sound creation, carries a considerable emotional charge. People come here to discover as much as for the fervour. More than ever, it wishes to open up to new ears, to break down barriers and to dispel the reticence that neophytes might feel towards the music it defends. The short form and the rapid editing of the September 2020 session allowed for encounters and a completely new rhythm, far from being uninteresting. The 2021 catch-up session will be held between 30 September and 3 October. It is sure to have its share of surprises and discoveries.
But that's not all. This year, still stunned by the second cancellation, refusing the idea of a streaming festival, the CCAM team decided during a collective discussion to commission a film, for which I was in charge (writing and interviews) alongside the director Vincent Tournaud. We shot it during a residency at the CCAM in April with the energy that comes from urgency, only three weeks before the start of the festival, when it was due to be released. In a race against time, Vincent Tournaud finished the editing in extremis during the two weeks that followed. All hands on deck at all levels, administrative, technical and artistic. We discuss and evaluate the proposed images continuously until the last few minutes.
This documentary, Inextinguishablegives the floor to eight artists whom I interview about their thirst to create again and again, despite all the hardships they are going through and despite the absence of an audience that they have not been able to meet for a year. Our specifications are precise: not to present a simple catalogue of the projects of the interviewed artists, to open these musics to new audiences via the Internet, and finally to deal with the question of musical creation in times of crisis. For this fascinating undertaking, we are surrounded and assisted by a highly motivated team, and the artists, whether they are in residence or contacted by internet, lend themselves to the game with sincerity and emotion. It feels great to come out of our terrible isolation and to be able to express and share it. On the first day of shooting, a superb performance byÉmilie Škrijelj on the accordion enchanted the empty corridors of the CCAM. Although it was given for the very small and lucky team recording this precious testimony, its simplicity symbolises the quintessence of musical communication in its primary emotion: a musician and four pairs of ears to listen to her. We had almost forgotten this feeling... I have tears in my eyes.
The pianist and performer Claudine Simon and the bassist and electroacoustician Floy Krouchi are among the artists interviewed in the film. Both work on hybrid objects, instruments augmented by electronic devices, one of the strong trends in music today. In Pianomachinedevices installed in the heart of the piano double, second or compete with Claudine Simon. The FK Bass by Floy Krouchi includes some forty controllers allowing all sorts of new access to her instrument.
These two musicians are among the artists that the public will be able to hear during the autumn 2021 catch-up session.