J-Ch. Maillot

This last work, strongly ritualised, bases itself upon the perfect form of the circle, the privileged site of ceremony which one stuggles to enter, where one faces confrontation and attempts to take up power. The circle here is a place of life and death, where performance begins. Between embers and ashes, the ground glows red with heat. It is here that the Breath appears, the song of the whispered voices of the women of Burundi : an outpouring of pure sound that traces, through the dance, a topography of the sacred.

« The challenge was not to reproduce African music in its traditional rythmic forms, but to use the range of its sonorities. Listening to the musicians of Central Africa, I isolated three kinds of sounds : voices, the djemba and string tones (the sitar). Instinctively, I added two other groups of sound that were missing, and which are used in Africa music : wood and metal instruments, which I treated by using a sampler. I tried to evoke natural sounds by using instruments, in order to move them away from narrative, and towards an instrumental function. I wanted to work with natural reverbations as a form of respect, and an integration of the processes of these traditional musical forms. Faced with electronic means, I attempted to maintain pysical contact with the instrumental. It is for this reason that all the voices were situated inside a djemba, where they gain from the resonance between the skin and the cavity of the instrument ». Bertand Maillot

Choreography: Jean-Christophe Maillot
Original music: Bertrand Maillot
Traditional musics of Burundi and Centre Africa
Scenography and lighting: Dominique Drillot
Costumes: Jérôme Kaplan

Premiere held on April 15th 1995, Salle Garnier Opéra de Monte-Carlo