How to share a musical trance with a sparse parterre of seated and masked spectators? At Printemps de Bourges, the first post-Covid festival, the game was far from won. Lucie Antunes can attest to this. On the evening of June 23, the young percussionist, in the company of Franck Berthoux and Jean Le Gouic on synthesizers, opens the evening at the Jacques-Coeur theater in front of a slow audience to warm up.
After two broadcasts of the safety instructions, the spectators do not dare to stand up, even to the tonic rhythm of his dancing electro-pop compositions. Some stamp their feet, others clap their hands, shake their heads… and leave a little stunned by this frustrating experience where one refrains from truly celebrating under the rarefied air of the mask.
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Jeanne Added however, after Jean-Louis Aubert the day before, will succeed in dispelling doubts, to warm the atmosphere, to do with her creation. I Feel for You let this Printemps de Bourges take off. Even deprived of most of its audience – less than 15,000 festival-goers against more than 100,000 usually -, deprived of its W marquee, of its large standing performance spaces, even without rappers and international stars, even with concerts limited to a thousand spectators spaced apart, the festival finds its breath with that, powerful, of a frail woman dressed all in red.
Tribute to Prince
Courageously installed in full light in front of Bruno Ruder’s grand piano, Jeanne Added revisits the repertoire of her idol, Prince. The American artist who died in 2016 would he find his funky songs with sophisticated arrangements in this stripped balance, a voice / a piano?
Terrified but determined, her interpreter talks about it with the audacity and timidity of a fan. “Prince, I know him well, I have always known him”, she launches, before recognizing: “I’ve never met him, I’m not American, I’m not an African-American musician. ” How, then, to tackle the mountain? “I managed to say yes to Printemps when I thought of Bruno Ruder. Together, we searched our inner path to Prince’s music so we could say thank you. “
This path begins with Sign o’the Times played blues by pianist Bruno Ruder, continues with I Would Die 4 You to which Jeanne Added gives a powerful rock phrasing. Less known, the third song She Loves Me For Me captivates by taking an exceptional force in its very skinning. A first standing ovation is inevitable, however brief and disciplined.
Explosive vocal power
Of Raspberry Beret at Dorothy Parker, with a foray into Joni Mitchell, from Pop Life at Little Red Corvette on which the singer plays a brilliant solo on bass, the audience recognizes Prince’s songs often from the first notes. “We knew them all, but we had never heard them like that! “, ensure two spectators at the end of the show. Residents of Bourges, these two friends have been coming to Printemps since 1977. “We were very young”, confides one of them flirtatiously. They are delighted to have “Made the right choice” for their first post-containment concert.
Through impressive breaks in tone, high-flying vocal covers, Jeanne Added’s quivering voice reveals the romanticism and anger inhabiting Prince’s work. Bruno Ruder’s piano underlines the symphonic dimension of compositions with an imposing richness of chords.
The duo holds the room, whether it observes a moment of silence or that the singer stumbles on an acrobatic passage – she will resume it three times, under the encouragement, before being satisfied with the result. The stage allows this freedom, as to interpret in crooner Under the Cherry Moon, to deliver with virtuosity all the inflections of Nothing Compares 2 U (made famous by Sinead O’Connor) or to roar with happiness, releasing an explosive vocal power that makes the standing audience jubilant.
In Bourges, the spectacle is once again “alive”. The artists are going on tour again, like Jeanne Added: she will give this concert again at Jazz à la Villette, on the 1er September in Paris. Spring continues with a new creation around the Portishead group, Friday June 25 in Saint-Étienne Cathedral. The music breathes.