Anne Sylvestre’s last carousel ride
When Anne Sylvestre bows out on November 30, 2020, the shock wave is as powerful as it is surprising. As if the memory of his mischievous work were resurfacing after having been kept in the margins for too long, confined to children’s ritornellos – for all ages, we will see – of his formidable Fabulettes. It is because the singer, author, composer and performer has built her repertoire without doubt suffering from the shadow of her glorious male contemporaries, Brel or Brassens, who animated the same trestles without however drying up on her talent.
In the twilight of her life, the singer remained animated by an inextinguishable creative thirst. It was not uncommon to meet her in the rooms dedicated to song, assuming loyalty to this scene of which she was both a pioneer and heiress, and lavishing without counting her good advice on young shoots. Today, and after the release of a gargantuan box set of 19 CDs retracing his long career, is published rides, unfinished album which bears witness to the disturbing liveliness of the pen of the almost nonagenarian, who always knows how to play wonderfully with the fusion of low and childish registers. For her last lap and without knowing that she was in no way condemned, Anne Sylvestre took us on board for the last time in the whirlwind of her life. Only five songs could be recorded, on stage, benefiting from the silky orchestrations of Nathalie Miravette and Jérôme Charles.
We enter the track with Tribute, instrumental piece with a sweet melancholy, perfect introduction to this poetic universe that we will discover crossed by childhood, innocence and love. His Beating heartshe sings to us, « is an old wolf, who remained wild ». But « refusing training/He’s always jealous/And if he shows his teeth/It’s because he’s mad/The end of the journey/Is approaching at any moment ». We discover the artist preoccupied but unfailingly optimistic, in the Flood with youa distant metaphor of ongoing climatic disasters embroidered on the lamentations of a cello and the heady notes of a sardonic piano. “We will get used to needing others/The neighbour’s survival will also be ours”, she sings at the heart of the disaster. She showcases her profession in mom the singer, where a mischievous child is annoyed by the magnetic power of a singer. It is in fact a moving look at the life of an artist, a subtly led game of mirrors that speaks of the power of sung emotions. In text, « we hit hit it’s a shot in the water / Eels are the words« . Of the « bird words », words-abrasions or word-wounds which can also heal. It is in the title song that she suggests the reaper that prowls. “I returned the skates/I took the track down” she tells us. “It’s like life/Too quickly ended/We’re never sure/To have understood everything. »But « nothing will erase what made us shudder / And waltz to the bursts on the Bridge of Sighs ».