FRANÇOISE VERGÈS: "Redemption songs"

En mars à Paris, mon sujet de prédilection !
Musique et changement social...



Redemption songs

Mardi 13 mars 2018


  • Françoise Vergès, politologue
La musique est l’une des formes privilégiée de la circulation des idées anticoloniales. Chants de liberté et de révolte, protest songs… La politologue Françoise Vergès emprunte sa chanson emblématique à la Jamaïque pour étudier les voix de la décolonisation.

La conférence se prolongera par un échange avec le public.


Figure incontournable des études postcoloniales et de la lutte féministe en France, Françoise VERGÈS est titulaire de la Chaire « Global South(s) » au Collège d’études mondiales - Fondation des Sciences de l’Homme. 

Après une enfance à La Réunion dans une famille d’anticolonialistes féministes, elle gagne Alger où elle obtient son baccalauréat, puis Paris, au milieu des années 1970. Elle abandonne ses études pour se consacrer au militantisme antiraciste et féministe et exerce comme journaliste et éditrice chez des femmes. En 1983, elle s’installe aux États-Unis où elle reprend des études. 

Son doctorat, Monsters and Revolutionaries. Colonial Family Romance and Métissage est publié par Duke University Press (1999). 

Elle a publié des ouvrages et articles sur les mémoires de l’esclavage, les figures de Frantz Fanon et d’Aimé Césaire, la postcolonialité et le musée postcolonial, les processus de créolisation ou le féminisme décolonial. 

Dans son dernier ouvrage, Le ventre des femmes. Capitalisme, racialisation, féminisme (2017), elle revient sur les milliers d’avortements et stérilisations sans consentement à l’île de La Réunion dans les années 1960-1970 pour analyser plus globalement la gestion du ventre des femmes du Sud et la cécité d’un féminisme français.


Pour réserver : https://philharmoniedeparis.fr/fr/activite/conference/19746-grande-conference-francoise-verges


'Papa, Can you hear me'

January 16...


Nina Simone



'Papa, Can You Hear Me'

"Papa, Can You Hear Me?" is a 1983 song composed, by Michel Legrand with lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman, for Barbra Streisand in the title role of Yentl. 
The song was nominated for Best Original Song at the 56th Academy Awards; Streisand's longtime friend Donna Summer performed it during the ceremonies.
The song peaked #26 at Billboard's Adult Contemporary.

Singer and pianist Nina Simone recorded the song in 1993 on her final album A Single Woman. Her father had died in the 1970s.


Papa, Can You Hear Me
Papa, can you hear me?
Papa, can you see me?
Papa, can you find me in the night?
Papa, are you near me?
Papa, can you hear me?
Papa, can you help me not be frightened?
Looking at the skies I see a million eyes
Which ones are yours?
Where are you now
That yesterday has waved goodbye
And closed it's doors
The night is so much darker
The wind is so much colder
The world is so much bigger
Now that I am alone.
Papa, please forgive me
I know you understand me
Papa, don't you know I had no choice?
Oh, can you hear me prayin'?
Anything I'm sayin'?
Even though the night is filled with voices
I remember everything you ever taught me
Evey book I've ever read.
Can all the words,
All the music help me face what's ahead?
The trees are so much taller
I feel so much smaller
The moon is twice as lonely
And the stars are half as bright.
Daddy, how I love you
Daddy, how I need you
Daddy, how I miss you
Kissing me goodnight.

Songwriters: Alan Bergman / Marilyn Bergman / Michel Legrand
Papa, Can You Hear Me lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

The Evolution Of... MASSIVE ATTACK. In video.

The famous music magazine MixMag edited this video showing a brief history of "my" band :)

The Evolution Of... MASSIVE ATTACK: 

Published on 16 Jan 2018
A short history of one of Britain's most influential electronic music groups.


Ten days before Mixmag had published this article:


Exploring how Bristol shaped "one of the most innovative musical movements of the last 30 years"
  • 6 JANUARY 2018

A new book charting the history of Massive Attack and the iconic band's relationship with Bristol is coming this April.
The book, penned by French writer and journalist Melissa Chemam, is “dedicated to the history of the band Massive Attack and their relationship with their own city, Bristol, which shaped their greatness and uniqueness", according to the press release.
Titled Massive Attack: A Bristol Story, the story was originally published in French in October 2016, but has yet to receive an English translation until now. 
Written over the course of three years, the in-depth study of Massive Attack's hometown, the band's influences and inner tensions is based upon interviews with the likes of Robert '3D' Del Naja, Tricky, Adrian Utley, Neil Davidge and more.
Massive Attack: A Bristol Story is out April 9, pre-orders are available here.


More soon...

"Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart"

Trailer for a documentary I would have dreamt to contribute to...

AMERICAN MASTERS | Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart - Preview | PBS

Published on 10 Jan 2018

Explore the inner life and works of the activist, playwright and author of A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry.

Narrated by actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson and featuring the voice of Tony Award-winning actress Anika Noni Rose as Hansberry.

Mezzanine @ 20

Mezzanine will be 20 years old this year in April. An album that has driven a lot of people through this uncertain era between the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the years 2000s... 

A masterpiece of sound-merging and incredibly sensual darkness, perfectly fusing timelessness into a defining turning-point. A key moment in modern music and THE key chapter of this book!

Book coming out for its 20th anniversary and the 30th anniversary of the band. I would have wanted to plan it, I would not have been able to programme it so well. "There is no such thing as chance", they say...



On Mezzanine, Massive Attack tried to escape trip-hop. They nearly tore themselves apart and made its defining document instead.


“Trip-hop” eventually became a ’90s punchline, a music-press shorthand for “overhyped hotel lounge music.” But today, the much-maligned subgenre almost feels like a secret precedent. Listen to any of the canonical Bristol-scene albums of the mid-late ’90s, when the genre was starting to chafe against its boundaries, and you’d think the claustrophobic, anxious 21st century started a few years ahead of schedule. Looked at from the right angle, trip-hop is part of an unbroken chain that runs from the abrasion of ’80s post-punk to the ruminative pop-R&B-dance fusion of the moment.

The best of it has aged far more gracefully (and forcefully) than anything recorded in the waning days of the record industry’s pre-filesharing monomania has any right to. Tricky rebelled against being attached at the hip to a scene he was already looking to shed and decamped for Jamaica to record a more aggressive, bristling-energy mutation of his style in ’96; the name *Pre-Millennium Tension *is the only obvious thing that tells you it’s two decades old rather than two weeks. And Portishead’s ’97 self-titled saw the stress-fractured voice of Beth Gibbons envisioning romance as codependent, mutually assured destruction while Geoff Barrow sunk into his RZA-noir beats like *The Conversation’*s Gene Hackman ruminating over his surveillance tapes. This was raw-nerved music, too single-minded and intense to carry an obvious timestamp.
But Massive Attack were the origin point of the trip-hop movement they and their peers were striving to escape the orbit of, and they nearly tore themselves to shreds in the process. Instead— or maybe as a result—they laid down their going-nova genre's definitive paranoia statement with Mezzanine. The band's third album (not counting the Mad Professor-remixed No Protection) completes the last in a sort of de facto Bristol trilogy, where Tricky’s youthful iconoclasm and Portishead’s deep-focus emotional intensity set the scene for Massive Attack’s sense of near-suffocating dread. The album corroded their tendencies to make big-wheel hymnals of interconnected lives where hope and despair trade precedent—on Mezzanine, it’s alienation all the way down. There’s no safety from harm here, nothing you’ve got to be thankful for, nobody to take the force of the blow: what *Mezzanine *provides instead is a succession of parties and relationships and panopticons where the walls won’t stop closing in.
The lyrics establish this atmosphere all on their own. Sex, in “Inertia Creeps,” is reduced to a meeting of “two undernourished egos, four rotating hips,” the focus of a failing relationship that's left its participants too numbed with their own routine dishonesty to break it off. The voice singing it—Massive Attack's cornerstone co-writer/producer Robert “3D” Del Naja—is raspy from exhaustion. “Dissolved Girl” reiterates this theme from the perspective of guest vocalist Sarah Jay Hawley (“Passion’s overrated anyway”). On “Risingson,” Grant “Daddy G” Marshall nails the boredom and anxiety of being stuck somewhere you can’t stand with someone you’re starting to feel the same way about (“Why you want to take me to this party and breathe/I’m dying to leave/Every time we grind you know we severed lines”).
But Mezzanine’s defining moments come from guest vocalists who were famous long before Massive Attack even released their first album. Horace Andy was already a legend in reggae circles, but his collaborations with Massive Attack gave him a wider crossover exposure, and all three of his appearances on Mezzanine are homages or nods to songs he'd charted with in his early-’70s come-up. “Angel” is a loose rewrite of his 1973 single “You Are My Angel,” but it’s a fakeout after the first verse—originally a vision of beauty (“Come from way above/To bring me love”), transformed into an Old Testament avenger: “On the dark side/Neutralize every man in sight.” The parenthetically titled, album-closing reprise of “(Exchange)” is a ghostly invocation of Andy’s “See A Man's Face” cleverly disguised as a comedown track. And then there’s “Man Next Door,” the John Holt standard that Andy had previously recorded as “Quiet Place”—on Mezzanine, it sounds less like an overheard argument from the next apartment over and more like a close-quarters reckoning with violence heard through thin walls ready to break. It’s Andy at his emotionally nuanced and evocative best.
The other outside vocalist was even more of a coup: Liz Fraser, the singer and songwriter of Cocteau Twins, lends her virtuoso soprano to three songs that feel like exorcisms of the personal strife accompanying her band’s breakup. Her voice serves as an ethereal counterpoint to speaker-rattling production around it. “Black Milk” contains the album’s most spiritually unnerving words (“Eat me/In the space/Within my heart/Love you for God/Love you for the Mother”), even as her lead and the elegiac beat make for some of its most beautiful sounds. She provides the wistful counterpoint to the night-shift alienation of “Group Four.” And then there's “Teardrop,” her finest moment on the album. Legend has it the song was briefly considered for Madonna; Andrew “Mushroom” Vowles sent the demo to her, but was overruled by Daddy G and 3D, who both wanted Fraser. Democracy thankfully worked this time around, as Fraser’s performance—recorded in part on the day she discovered that Jeff Buckley, who she’d had an estranged working relationship and friendship with, had drowned in Memphis’ Wolf River—was a heart-rending performance that gave Massive Attack their first (and so far only) UK Top 10 hit.
Originally set for a late ’97 release, Mezzanine got pushed back four months because Del Naja refused to stop reworking the tracks, tearing them apart and rebuilding them until they’re so polished they gleam. It sure sounds like the product of bloody-knuckled labor, all that empty-space reverb and melted-together multitrack vocals and oppressive low-end. (The first sound you hear on the album, that lead-jointed bassline on “Angel,” is to subwoofers what “Planet Earth” is to high-def television.) But it also groans with the burden of creative conflict, a working process that created rifts between Del Naja and Vowles, who left shortly after *Mezzanine *dropped following nearly 15 years of collaboration.
Mezzanine began the band’s relationship with producer Neil Davidge, who’d known Vowles dating back to the early ’90s and met the rest of the band after the completion of Protection. He picked a chaotic time to jump in, but Davidge and 3D forged a creative bond working through that pressure. *Mezzanine *was a document of unity, not fragmentation. Despite their rifts, they were a post-genre outfit, one that couldn’t separate dub from punk from hip-hop from R&B because the basslines all worked together and because classifications are for toe tags. All their acknowledged samples—including the joy-buzzer synths from Ultravox’s “Rockwrok” (“Inertia Creeps”), the opulent ache of Isaac Hayes’ celestial-soul take on “Our Day Will Come” (“Exchange”), Robert Smith’s nervous “tick tick tick” from the Cure’s “10:15 Saturday Night,” and the most concrete-crumbling throwdown of the Led Zep “Levee” break ever deployed (the latter two on “Man Next Door”)—were sourced from  1968 and 1978, well-traveled crate-digging territory. But what they build from that is its own beast.
Their working method never got any faster. The four-year gap between Protection* *and *Mezzanine *became a five-year gap until 2003’s 100th Window, then another seven years between that record and 2010’s Heligoland, plus another seven years and counting with no full-lengths to show for it. Not that they've been slacking: we've gotten a multimedia film/music collaboration with Adam Curtis, the respectable but underrated *Ritual Spirit *EP, and Del Naja’s notoriously rumored side gig as Banksy. (Hey, 3D *does *have a background in graffiti art.) But the ordeal of both recording and touring Mezzanine took its own toll. A late ’98 interview with Del Naja saw him optimistic about its reputation-shedding style: “I always said it was for the greater good of the fucking project because if this album was a bit different from the last two, the next one would be even freer to be whatever it wants to be.” But fatigue and restlessness rarely make for a productive mixture, and that same spark of tension which carried *Mezzanine *over the threshold proved unsustainable, not just for Massive Attack’s creativity but their continued existence.
Still, it’s hard not to feel the album’s legacy resonating elsewhere—and not just in “Teardrop” becoming the cue for millions of TV viewers to brace themselves for Hugh Laurie’s cranky-genius-doctor schtick. Graft its tense feelings of nervy isolation and late-night melancholy onto two-step, and you’re partway to the blueprint for Plastician and Burial. You can hear flashes of that mournful romantic alienation in James Blake, the graceful, bass-riddled emotional abrasion in FKA twigs, the all-absorbing post-genre rock/soul ambitions in Young Fathers or Algiers. *Mezzanine *stands as an album built around echoes of the ’70s, wrestled through the immediacy of its creators' tumultuous late ’90s, and fearless enough that it still sounds like it belongs in whatever timeframe you're playing it.


From "Blue Monday" to "Blue Moon"

They say today is "Blue Monday"... Because it's supposed to be a day of depression... 

I say don't ever let anybody tell you what your colour means !! 

Black is Beautiful, Grey is infinite and Blue is the Warmest Colour... So keep shining.

January is my month. So many important dates, and times for new beginnings. 
This time, I finally "OWN" it, here, at home, and not at the other end of the planet! 
And the month will end with a "Blue Moon"!!! Blue. My favourite colour.

So, blue or not, be Joy, be Yourself and embrace January :)

Billie Holiday - 'Blue Moon' (1952)


Blue moon you saw me standing alone

Without a dream in my heart

Without a love of my own

Blue moon, you knew just what I was there for

You heard me saying a prayer for 

Someone I really could care for

And then there suddenly appeared before me

The only one my arms will ever hold

I heard somebody whisper "Please adore me"

And when I looked, the moon had turned to gold!

Blue moon! 

Now I'm no longer alone

Without a dream in my heart

Without a love of my own

'By The Time I Get To Arizona' / 'Like a King' / 'Dear Friend'

I write about music because music is one of the most beautiful expression of life, of struggle, of mix of pain and joy transfigured, because music is the soundtrack of our life, through different eras, because music speaks to everyone, in different countries, people speaking different language, from different background and social class...

I write about music, the music I hear as the breath of change...

Public Enemy - 'By The Time I Get To Arizona'

"By The Time I Get To Arizona" was written by Public Enemy's Chuck D in 1991 as a direct reply to Arizona officials, including John McCain and Fife Symington, for rejecting the federal holiday celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.


And January 15th is Martin Luther King Jr.'s day. In America. A land of struggle and sufferance of a vast majority for the comfort of a selfish, materialistic and fear-obsessed minority. 

Nowadays especially, the United States are expunging their mistakes. And we can only hope that their people end up learning a lesson and stopped repeating, over and over, the same kind of mistakes.


Ben Harper - 'Like a King'

This track off Ben Harper's 1994 debut Welcome to the Cruel World is a rootsy folk tune, the allure of which lies in its stalwart political stance. 
'Like a King' draws parallels between MLK and Rodney King, a victim in the early-'90s L.A.P.D. police brutality cases. Harper's stance on the matter is easily discernible -- "Martin's dream," he avers, "has become Rodney's worst nightmare."


Common Feat. Will I Am - 'I have a dream'

Sampling Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Have A Dream" speech, Will.i.am and Common joined forces for a track that appeared on the soundtrack for "Freedom Writers." "My dream is to be free," Will.i.am sings on the chorus, while Common shares verses about struggle, pain and hope. Even the rap generation respected Dr. King's struggle.


Massive Attack feat. James Massiah - Dear Friend

Massive Attack Featuring James Messiah
Produced By Euan Dickinson & Robert Del Naja


Dear friend, look at you now
All tied up in knots and starting to rot
Thought it was alright in the light but now it's dark and it looks wrong
But what'd you expect?
That's what you get from worshipping moon gods
False deities living off reflected glory, like our colonisers
Queens and kings reaping the royalties from someone else's story
But let's return to yours, you, the author of your own destiny
Escaping the demons and bastards of a past life
Arm in arm with your wife, a highland type
With a big heart and a wise mind
It's gonna help you to escape the long arm of the swine
Which helps, seeming as you've been tired of, and trying to escape the wildlife
Which now bores the young man with the family from the horn
Lands wartorn, new allegiance sworn, you're part of the swarm
Survive the storm, now withering

Raised with worthy morals by an upright mother
And a father who slaved days and days to make a wage
Chewing cats will alleviate the pain and pressure
That came with the career in a country that saw you as a cancer and a casualty
Alienated on the way up to a higher education
That you were lucky enough to catch
Smart and working hard enough to keep
You were caught in criminality
The catalyst for your change
And plenty of it came from the ketamine, the weed and cocaine for the customer
Middle class kids on campus were burdens to bear
Each of them facing oppression of their own
Victims of a different kind of prejudice
Their condition: psychosis, mania, suicidal thoughts, sexual inadequacy
Academic underachievement, social separation and a desire to fit in
The madness of youth that you've medicated
All the while dedicated to serving your god
When the deities of this life would allow you to
Driving through the town, you approach the road to Damascus
Blue lights that flash and leave you blind
Bound by a belief that the god of your father set you free
Weeds plucked, wife covered, 5 times a day, a proud slave
Praying for proof that you picked the right way
Seeing that your sister's changed, your brother's enraged, on route to a cage
You're gonna need more than faith in this day and age
You don't need friends, you need facts
Don't need poems, you need raps
Don't need peace, you need war, and defeat, and a grave to bury your doubts
You've got love and a spouse, now you need space
A chance to breathe, and time away
In time, you'll remember this day
When you're 50 years old, thinking of all the fickle things that you would fret over
But you're not 50 yet, so take the right steps
Unless you wanna be down when you get there
This is my prayer for you, my friend, so fly away
Be unbound by the ropes and the chains
Be set free and escape
The demons of your past become the demons of your present
Old habits stick, what you learn as a young gun becomes hard to kick
Clutch gets stuck and hard to shift
Automatically return to the ways of days gone by
A bullet in the mind, a beam in the eye
And a bitch, yeah, that's life
Ignorance is bliss, but wisdom's nice
Hopefully it comes with age, 'cause you don't live twice
And then you can't live it again, I'm afraid
So fly now, be free, make your own way
My dear friend