For the 15th time, the MIMI Festival took place and like always the aim was to suprise the audience by never heard or not yet heard music...
But more than that, MIMI has its own cultural policy: to confront cultural hardening with the diversity of cultures, to confront restricting nationalism with an open mind, and all this without the all-embracing worldmusic - cosmopolitism, which nivels everything.
No, Ferdinand Richard and his crew follow the saying, that to close one door closes all doors and they open doors every year anew: for the musicians, to find an audience, and for the audience to open their ears and minds.
A door is closed when a person is forgotten and MIMI 98 was the first MIMI after the death of Tom Cora. His door is still open, his portrait was present during the festival, placed at the festival posters, many musicians and friends remembered him, Platzlinger honored him on stage, he is missed.
A festival always is an offer to the visitor: pick your choice from the program and then decide whether you like or dislike the acts.
If the visitor is curious, he listens to the concerts as long as his capacity allows, after that he judges what he heard. If he lacks courage, he trusts in that what he knows already and just listens to the acts which he knows, he will stumble into the other concerts only by chance...
Now every program should offer surprises as well and if this is the aim, than the cowardly visitors will miss a lot...
A not-planned surprise happened the first evening, when the czech ensemble UZ JME DOMA could not perform, because the drummer was ill, and instead Skl'Emst came to stage. They, Skl'Emst from St. Etienne, compare their music with a film, whose story is ripped off, and they deny any categories for their music. OK, the young ensemble performed with great concentration and introduced itself to the audience, I personally could not find a lot in their 'naked film'.
The second ensemble, AKA MOON, Combo deriving from the belgian innovator scene (as written in the program leaflet) demonstrated all their musical abilities and I was not alone to miss dynamics and dramaturgical concept, which transforms a chain of noise and music into a concert.
The second evening in the antique theatre opened with a fascinating production: Chef Menteur from Lyon presented us their 'experimental varieté', something what you can't see very often in Europe: theatrical effects, musically supported, cabarét-numbers, citations from literature ... nearly a 'Russian Blend' like it is performed by NXA from Chelyabinsk, unknown brothers in mind. Their performance was a pure delight, without any attempts at currying favour, flavored with some short stories from Daniel Charms. This prepared the ground for the Moscow Composers, who read pieces by Daniel Charms, the unforgotten poet, as well.
There were two more acts this evening (MUG and SCROOGE), but their music is not my music and that's why I will not judge.
The third evening presented two acts which can't be more contradictional than the bursting vitality of DJ RITU's Asian Equation and the slow, desolate sounds of Terry Riley.
DJ RITU's Asian Equation: a blend at it's best from London: London-Pakistani New Wave, Techno, Sitar, tabla, a costumed dancer in the tradition of the pakistani festival - transvestite dancers ....
Power, Energy, joy of life, competition and also a cry for emancipation and tolerance. (visit their night-performance!)
After that the Terry Riley Duo (with Scodannibio at the double-base): a chance for many of us to hear the famous compositor live at least one time.
The pillar of the mimimal music, the grandmaster of repetition in a classic ambiente, in a roman theater ... he confronted the spectactular surrounding with his banalisms, he tinkled on the Yamaha, and in a longspread recitative he told us about ' Chinaboy and Chinagirl, looking at embroidery' ....
I couldn't stand that any longer, I feel depressed by people who surpassed their zenith and can't stop. Terry Riley, an old primadonna of new music?
The mood changed, when an old friend came to stage the other day: Peter Hollinger, together with Platzgummi from Austria: Platzlinger. A musical tempest full of suspense and dynamic, mixed with an obvious delight to play.
Peter even puts out his cigarette on a cymbal, to continue playing...
After that duo with it's roots in rock music, the Moscow Composers Orchestra played compositions by Vladimir Miller and Alexander Alexandrov, and by this they built a bridge between russian polystilistic and western contemporary music. A very interesting blend, which suffered a little by some inaccurancy, as it is very difficult for the musicians to rehearse, not enough money to travel and meet, as they live in Russia, Lithuania, Germany and England, russian diaspora!
A stimulating concert and for many listeners the first meeting with such music, another open door. For Sainkho Namchylak it was the first concert at MIMI, at least it happened!
All these evenings were followed by the Open Stage, an ideal chance for the tireless people to listen to more music, to produce music themselves. A very different program with it's own character.
We had to leave Arles the monday morning, so I could not assist the last evening of this great festival and I missed the concerts of Java and the Veillistic Orchestra.
Thank you, Ferdinand Richard, AMI and MIMI!
All MIMI 98 Pages