Monday, 26 April 2010


Jo said ‘I want all the music before the end of the month of April.’ Bold as I was, I said I would, even if I had no idea how. Thanks to Rémy, I found a way with this virtual orchestra I now call the Non Existent Symphony Orchestra. I asked Alex to record a few parts for me from Toronto and used strings sections I had from the Auntie sessions. Since the music was to be lost in no man’s land, I used a lot of it for my album as well as Hoffmann.
Jo is still very concerned whether I will actually be able to deliver the full score in time. I said I would and I will. I kindly suggested that I would work better if his were words of support instead of words of worry and pressure. Positive energy makes us achieve more. Most of my time and energy goes in there. But now that the concert is over, I feel more relaxed. The composition of the ballet is like a mystery I have to solve in a limited time. I do take a little time to go out in the evening, though. My mind needs to be refreshed. I went to see Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland with Julia and that was the best thing I could do that day, for I felt rejuvenated after watching the film. New ideas came to me and above all, I was reminded to keep in touch with imagination. Hoffmann is not a realistic depiction of life in the warehouse! So let my imagination flow out! Never believe that anything is impossible! If I was fairly worried about the short time I had left and though more about matching Jo’s idea, now I totally enjoy the process and trust my intuition more. As a result, Jo likes it more.

Thirty minutes left…
Remember: nothing is impossible.

Since I have announced that I will be going away, everybody expect to see me with luggage in hands.
I don’t think I will leave France before the month of June though. And ‘leaving’ may be a big word, for I will come back no later than November… The dates for the Parisian performances of NINA are set: that will be on December 12 and 13.
The first time Jo presented his work in France, the critics dissed him and fired at him in their reviews. I wonder how NINA will be received this time.
Maybe I should put that thought for later.
It’s two a.m. and I may be about to resume my work. However, I feel it’d be better to have a good night sleep. My body is slowly recuperating its strength. 

Sunday, 25 April 2010


Awu was in the audience. I didn’t expect his presence at the concert at all. I was so happy and delighted to see him. We couldn’t be more remote from each other in terms of education, fields of interest and way of life, and yet, I realized what a powerful connection there was between us. It’s true, one doesn’t necessarily have to look for someone similar to be in a relationship, be it love or friendship. I no longer think I need my partner to be an artist, nor is it necessary for the person to completely understand my life. Compatibility matters. But diversity is important for our personal growth.


I’m still sickish, even after two weeks. I blocked a nerve on the day of the concert – one doesn’t even wonder why. I feel like a member of a geriatric pension.

More music done for Hoffmann. Jo and I have found a good ground to build up this new project. I’m quite relieved the concert is over, so I can now fully concentrate on the ballet.
Sometime I wonder how someone like Madonna manages to keep alive and do all the things she does, being that rigorous and disciplined multi-talented woman she is. She is a very inspiring example for me. She must come from another planet!

The weather has been gorgeous. Simon was here for the concert and stayed for the week end. We reconnected, finally. I see how much he has moved on in his life. I took to Jan surprise birthday bash. We had dinner with Karen. I was myself happy to take it easy for a couple of days. Shinji told me that I had been completely emptied after these two months of intense work. Now I have to be careful. Eat, sleep, breathe. Simple things in life. But vital things. We tend to forget that.

Now I still have a whole hour of music to compose before the end of the month…

Thursday, 15 April 2010

D-Day today

D-day was today. Maybe I shouldn’t write it with a capital D… I have very mixed feeling regarding the concert. On one hand, I felt very at ease on stage and had lots of fun. The negative point was on the technical level. I hired a very incompetent sound engineer. She was recommended to me by Damien, the light designer. From what he told me, she seemed very interesting. She had been working with French pop singer Camille, studied at the IRCAM, as well as the Paris conservatory. On top of that, she was herself a musician.
That sounded good on paper only. Because the way she behaved herself in this haughty manner and her disability to listen to the musicians and meet their needs resulted in a very uncomfortable concert for them. We could hardly hear anything on stage, much less be together and play together. The musicians could not hear me most of the time. That indeed was frustrating. The staff of venue which hosted us hardly moved a finger during the whole time. No publicity was done; the contract was sent only three days before the concert, the piano which was supposed to have been rented a couple of months ago was not yet rented the day before, the posters they asked me to give them for the promotion were left under the sound desk! If there was a way to show disrespect, they did it beautifully.
However, the audience seemed to like it. Not many people came, unfortunately. Many promised to, but that was sweet talk and empty promises obviously. I was slightly upset when I saw that but I decided to remain concentrated on the show.
I was so touched and happy to see these friendly faces. Whether they liked my music or not, they were there to show love and support. It was a beautiful moment. My ego needed some time to readjust to the situation. I really felt a chapter was really over. 
Good bye Paris. A new life begins.

Now the financial aspect of it remains to be handled. I gambled and took a huge risk. That’s the last time I give a concert with no company to back me. It’s good to take risks, but it’s foolish to jump from the cliff when I know there’s no one to catch me.
Yet, I know it’s been a significant experience for me

Some pictures of the concert taken by Philippe Fontaine

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Music / Work / Rehearsal / Music / Rehearsal / Work

Two days and it will be the concert… I didn’t see time pass. Twenty fours hours seem like one minute for all the things I have to handle. Rehearsal all day, whether with Bévinda or with the musicians, followed by time at home to compose the music for Jo’s ballet. I still manage an hour at the gym to release the body tension. Not a minute to think of anything else. As soon as I lie in bed, I immediately forget everything in an instant deep sleep.
Fortunately, Vincent, the drummer, has a studio in his house, which allows us to rehearse as long as we want without worrying about squeezing hours of work in a more limited time. The hardest was to get everyone to be there. Life as a musician isn’t an easy one, so everybody has to juggle many commitments which sometime have to be combined with family commitments. So we only had five days to get this concert on foot.
The lack of time inspired me new arrangements that really fill me with excitement. I can’t wait to play them on Thursday.
Natürlich, I fell sick last week and had to cope with a coarse voice for days. I don’t even need to find the reason. I’m just happy it happened a week before, not a day before!
It’s so enjoyable to play with Vincent and Rémy. To think that I have known them for more than ten years, in the old time when we would tour with Michèle…
They’re like brothers to me. Koji and Pascal and the new additions. Koji plays the violin and studies music and pastry baking in Paris. His idea is to open a tea house in Tokyo which would offer both to the clients. He shows so much enthusiasm for anything. I watched him as he was having a look at my flat and trying and touching objects and instruments. He was like a little puppy in a garden sniffing everything around him. I hope he retains that quality for a long time! Pascal is the one who saved my life when he advised me to try drops made of grapefruit seeds. I tried it and indeed felt better a day later, whereas mrs. Tian’s Chinese medicine didn’t prove efficient this time! 

Music for the Tales of Hoffmann is starting to shape up. I managed to pen a good half hour last week in the chaos of the concert preparation. Rémy, the bass player, saved my life by giving me a software that allows me to work with a virtual orchestra. I was flabbergasted by the sounds. They sound really real and rich. So I can send Jo drafts of the music and eventually re-record some parts with live musicians.

Went with Nicolas this morning to the newly opened uniklo store near Opéra and found my outfit within five minutes. The cut is perfect and the material is great. I never thought of going there for clothes in Paris. The prices are quite affordable and they have better quality items than in H&M. I’ll go there again very soon to get other things! Want to wear something else than those over worn pullovers and t-shirts I have had on those past months.