5 questions to Chloé Sainte-Marie for her project Maudit silence

For the purposes of this new project, available today as a book-album and a show which will be presented in the Salle Jean-Despréz on 1er December, Chloé Sainte-Marie traveled to Patagonia, via Haiti. She went to meet men and women bearing the accents and the voice of their territory.

In the company of Jean Morisset and Joséphine Bacon, the interpreter wanted to continue and broaden his reflection on the notion of interbreeding. Because if she was already singing in French and Innu, Chloé Sainte-Marie also wanted to make all these other languages ​​heard, from Maya to Guarani via Creole, testifying to the history of the three Americas, from yesterday to today. .

What does this project represent for you and why did you choose Chief Kondiaronk as a starting point?

This project represents a fundraiser of memory. That is to say to find my story, which I did not know, which I was not taught when I was a child. Find my native brothers […]. So it represents a walk, basically, a walk that gives me exactly what I wish I had, say, when I was a kid: learning who my people are, who I am. [Pour ce qui est de Kondiaronk] he came to make the Great Peace in Montreal, it’s not trivial! He died here, he is buried in Pointe-à-Callières and, basically, I did not know this character. There is nothing that reminds us of it. There is nothing that honors his memory. Jeans [Morisset] knew him very well. And we started from him, in 1701, to go back to all of colonization, before, after, all of the interbreeding, Louis Riel… It’s an album that gives us another vision of our history.

What has going to meet all these artists on their territory brought you?

I wanted to make a summary. I started with Joséphine Bacon, then Miron, Gilles Carle, Desbiens, Gauvreau. All these Métis poets, basically, and I felt the need to rediscover this territory that I barely knew, from which I would say that I had been cut off. Basically, I cut the umbilical cord with France! Me, I lived in Paris for seven years, I made films there, I played in the theater a lot, in Avignon, in Paris, and I also sang when I started to sing. But I never realized that my Brazilian, Haitian, Chilean, Argentinian brothers were my brothers. And that’s the step I wanted to take, and try to take a new direction a bit and stop believing that the mother country is the one that will save us mentally, intellectually, literary, poetically. . […] Octavio Paz, and all these great poets, Pablo Neruda, we learn very little about them. […] I wanted us to hear Fiorella Boucher in Guarani, Wara in Qwechua, all the indigenous artists from Chile and Peru who we hear in Maya too, Mateo Pablo. We wouldn’t have had that if we hadn’t gone to the territory. […] We took a poem that Jean Morisset wrote, which is called Call for the reincarnation of the Americas, and that’s the poem we gave them, all the same poem. They chose the verses they wanted, they translated them and then they recorded them.

You are Quebecer, white. How legitimate did you feel to sing these words, to sing in a language other than your own?

When we say we are white, we distort the data. We are mixed race, we deny our crossbreeding, but […] we have in us white blood, supposedly, and red blood. […] In my opinion, a language that is not spoken dies. James Noël, this great poet [haïtien]when I asked him for texts, he said yes, but I said: I want to sing them in Haitian Creole, your language! […] So there is no appropriation. There is a nice mix of lyrics, languages, sounds. It’s sonorities, basically, gustatory that we give people to hear. […] We wanted, Jean Morisset and I, and Joséphine Bacon and James Noël, to communicate this need to sing languages ​​so that they don’t die. So we have a duty to appropriate them to pass them on to our children, our grandchildren, our brothers. That’s really what me, doing cursed silenceI wanted to transmit. […] You know, I sang Gauvreau, who created a new language, but when you create a new language, it’s because you’re losing your language. Can you imagine, a language that disappears, the tragedy!

How did you put these texts in your mouth?

Haitian Creole is the same as French. If we pay attention, it’s the same words, it’s the same music, it’s a different way of writing it, but when you hear it, you understand everything! […] Latin languages ​​are easy. […] I still took coaches. I worked with Flavia Nascimento for Portuguese. […] It allows me to meet people, and it creates friendships with singers, with performers. The whole band Rara Soley, who sings on the album […] the four Haitian poems with me: they were extraordinary. […] It was while singing these languages ​​that I encountered them. I would never have known them otherwise. And they sing in French, they sing my songs. We pass our sounds to enrich ourselves.

Your previous album was called At the crossroads of silences. This new book-album bears the title of cursed silence. What does this word mean to you?

It means so much horror, so much horror and so much beauty, because the most beautiful music, I would say, is silence. But when Bébitte [NDLR Joséphine Bacon] said : the cursed silence that I wrote, it was really a cursed silence, and when it becomes a cursed silence, it must speak. That’s it, the cursed silence. At the crossroads of silences, it’s all the absence, it’s all the fear of speaking. It’s the gag in the mouth. That’s what silence is! And at the same time, when you walk in the forest, on the shore by the river, silence is healing, it is restorative. So it’s this duality in the word that overwhelms me. In fact, it was Bébitte who gave the title to the album, with her poem about murdered Native women. When she read me the poem, because Bébitte is on each of my albums, I said: It’s the title of the album, do you accept? And she said yes.

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5 questions to Chloé Sainte-Marie for her project Maudit silence

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