Scenic creation

LITTLE GIRL BLUE

WITH

Sonia Wieder-Atherton (cellist)
Bruno Fontaine (piano)
& Laurent Kraif (percussion)

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ABOUT

FROM NINA SIMONE

It’s as if her song moved all the incurable pain, all the anger, all the loneliness in the same movement.
All hers. All ours, too. Without giving us a choice.
What is this place? Is it the place she comes from, the place she returns to, a place that predates even her classical studies, the place of childhood church songs? Where his desire was born?
The only place where his love of music, his underlying anger, his disobedience and his dull sorrow could be reconciled?
What I do know is that it’s his secret.
I immersed myself in his repertoire, his arrangements, his harmonic universe and his story too. I’d like to lend her the voice of my cello, carried and accompanied by Bruno Fontaine’s multi-faceted playing and Laurent Kraif’s infinite poetry of sound.
And I believe that as I let myself be carried along by her, I’ll discover secret links with composers she loved above all else.

What I do know is that it moves and bewitches.
Of course you can.
What I do know is that only her voice and her singing follow her to a place from which no one returns unchanged.
What I’m wondering is where she is when suddenly I seem to recognize a Bach chorale or a Monteverdi madrigal.
Which, more often than not, she seems to hide in the depths of her songs. What I’m wondering is where she is when, as if absent, she sits at the harpsichord and plays what might be Couperin, and her keyboard and voice, from worlds that don’t seem to communicate, seek each other out, seek each other out, until a child’s ritornello finally brings them together.
There are these escapes where she throws herself onto the keyboard, and it’s like a powerful wave, sweeping everything along, a powerful wave of harmonies.

The program

Black Swan – Black Is The Colour Of My True Love’s Hair – Hey, Buddy Bolden – Fodder On My Wings – Little Girl Blue – Images – Brahms / Bach: “Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele” Op.122 n°5 You Can Have Him – I Wish I Knew How It Would To Be Free – Brown Baby – Come Ye – That’s All I Want From You – Stars – Rachmaninov, Sonata in G minor, Op.19 (andante) Return Home

What I do know is that it moves and bewitches.
Of course.”

ABOUT

LETTER to NINA SIMONE

“Often I try to imagine you.
You’re 4 years old.
You play by ear hymns you hear in church or Bach choirs.
Music is your first language. Your mother is a reverend. Born of African, Irish and Indian blood, she’s lighter-skinned than you. I can only imagine, as I haven’t found a photo of her.

They say you were the pride of your family and that people came from all over the region to see you play. You discover folk songs in secret from your mother, with your father.
If only I’d seen your amazement at your first piano lesson.
If I had seen you discovering a world of dreams.
If I’d seen you drinking your teacher’s words.
If only I’d heard the works pass beneath your fingers.

At the age of 9, you were preparing your first concert. Your parents are ordered to give up their seats to white people.

Is this your first contact with skin color?
Is this your first contact with anger?
I don’t know.
Are you alone when you receive the rejection letter from the Curtis Institute of music?
It took you a long time to understand.
But never admit it.

Then there was this bar in Atlanta.
Where you had no choice but to prepare your voice and return to the songs you learned with your father as a child.

I would have come every night to hear you sing. To listen to you play, eyes closed in front of that audience you hated.

To see you sculpt your game, invent your language, go where you hadn’t planned to go.
Then, little by little, you became the woman we recognize in black and white photos. Your gaze is always an enigma of solitude.
You teach your mother that this much-talked-about girl with the dark voice is you.
That day and forever, she rejects you.
Because for her you play the devil’s music.
How did you do it?
If I’d been at Carnegie Hall in New York.
If only I’d heard you open the concert at the piano, playing Sanson et Dalila for all those who came to hear I love you Porgy.

I’m imagining you to understand what kind of strength it takes to make your own way.
I heard Angela Davis say that in prison you brought her a red balloon.
A ball she did her utmost to keep as long as possible in her cell.
A balloon like a piece of childhood that we keep secret to save ourselves from the violence of the world.

You were born on February 21, 1933 in Tryon, North Carolina.
Your name was Eunice Kathleen Waymon.
But you chose to call yourself Nina Simone.”

Track List

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credits & thanks

ARTISTIC DIRECTION & CELLO

Sonia Wieder-Atherton, assisted by Quentin Balpe

PIANO AND MUSICAL COLLABORATION

Bruno Fontaine

PERCUSSION AND MUSICAL COLLABORATION

Laurent Kraif

LIGHTING DESIGN

Franck Thévenon

PRODUCTION

Madamelune with the support of Adami

PHOTO CREDITS

Xavier Arias

New release

BACH: Cello Suites Nos. 3 & 4

“It’s a question of digging into the string until the phrase is born, along with its right breath. A sentence in perpetual becoming. It never stops being made and remade. I waited a long time to record them. And then one day, or rather one night, I began.”