Chevance (etc.): Outremusique Pour Enfants 1975-1984


LP version. Includes six-page booklet in French and English. English title: Chevance (etc.): Another Music for Children 1975-1984. France at the crossroads of the '70s: the Chevance collection revolutionizes music for children. Mixing forward-thinking folk and avant-garde jazz, driven by a strong literary spirit, its exceptional catalog was created under the direction of producer Philippe Gavardin, in the tradition of the Saravah label or iconoclastic publisher Harlin Quist. It brought together a band of classically inspired free musicians, propelling its singers into orbit by exploiting all the fantastical potential of texts by Jean Tardieu, Robert Desnos, Jacqueline Held, and many others. More strictly instrumental, its younger sibling, the Sonoriage collection completed the company, dedicating itself to the acousmatic exploration of children's familiar environments. The small collection named Chevance was founded by Philippe Gavardin in the course of the 1970s. Gavardin, notably with free jazz drummer Jean-Louis Méchali, forged the identity of this series of recordings for the younger generations: musically Janus-faced, definitely literary, impregnated with a surrealism that echoed the decade's psychedelic and libertarian experiments. Each record took a clear direction: modern fables, bestiaries, musical tales, cookbooks; words were the backbone of every release. In the chanson category, Anne et Gilles alternated with the Swiss actress Cristine Combe who had recently settled in Paris and wanted to sing Kurt Weill; as for the folk projects, Imbert and Moreau, were more in the hippie vein, took turns with the canonical pioneer Steve Waring. The musicians included many jazzmen from the adventurous French scene, including Cohelmec Ensemble, The Marvelous Band, and various mavericks like Teddy Lasry or Jacques Cassard. Initially distributed by the label Le Chant du Monde, Chevance was definitely included in the catalog of this venerable parent company when Gavardin started directing it. Mixing songwriting and avant-garde jazz, Chevance seems to be, first of all, Saravah's younger sibling. Cohelmec Ensemble bridged the two worlds, the teams got to know one another and often worked in the same studios. As for the literary dimension, it is right in the lineage of the American iconoclastic publisher Harlin Quist, whose activity in France left its mark on the genre. The parallelism with Chevance goes even beyond questions of editorial, graphical, or typographical choices: the two worked with the same team of illustrators, which included Henri Galeron, Nicole Claveloux, and Patrick Couratin. While Chevance had strong literary roots, Le Chant du Monde developed, in the middle of the 1980s, another collection in a more abstract, rigorously instrumental line, far from textual concerns. Features Anne et Gilles, Steve Waring, Christine Combe, Jean-François Gaël, Le Groupe Organon, Alain Savouret, and Naomi Moudi.