Interview for the cultural blog

Originally from Paris, Isa Somparé is a singer-songwriter. She is also the producer and director of her second album Le Monde est fou.

Isa works on mixes. It is above all French song, but the sound is a mix of jazz, pop and electro. Her influences range from blues to afro and the seven songs on the album reflect this musical originality. Isa favors atmospheres that are always at the service of his subject. The songs on the album Le monde est fou are inspired by today’s world and the animated video for the first single Le monde est fou sets the tone for this committed album. The song starts as a contine and ends as an apocalypse.
When she was younger, Isa sang with several jazz bands in the clubs of St Germain des Près.
She defended her first personal project “Rouge à Rêve” at the Parfum de Jazz festival, opening for Henri Texier in 2017.
This second album recorded in her own studio with Leandro Aconcha (Didier Lockwood, Ibrahim Maalouf) on keyboards and Daniel Blanc, a guitarist specializing in the blues, on guitar was born during the confinement.
Paradoxically, this album is turned towards the outside and approaches the sensitive topics of the current events: the ecological disaster, the migrants, the prostitution, the distended time of the confinement.
The sound of the album, a mixture of traditional jazz and blues and electronic instruments, reflects the duality of our society, torn between a sometimes frightening progress and a past that is now gone.
The song “J’attends” combined with a poem by Peter Handke, a very slow blues written during the confinement, puts forward the option of slowing down time (experienced during this very particular period) against acceleration and the glorification of speed.
The world is crazy, the first eponymous single of the album, evokes the destruction of the planet from the perspective of whaling.
The rather cheerful jazz swing pop music says the opposite of the lyrics but the very grating electro textures that make up the sound plunge the listener into a surprising and more anxiety-provoking sound universe than it seems.

Why did you want to evoke our Mad World in your second album?
I made this album during the confinement which was quite traumatic for me. And paradoxically, this slowed down time allowed me to think 😉 among other things about our world which is not going very well. We realize it as soon as we listen to the news…

Why is it important to talk about current issues such as ecology, migrants or prostitution?
Important, I don’t know but these are subjects that occupy me, that interest me, that challenge me and all these songs were written from lived experiences or from emotions provoked by the news and its images.

While we had the COP26 or dramas with the migrants in Calais recently, little seems to move. Do you think that an album or artists can move the lines?
These issues are so complex and linked to each other that artists cannot influence decisions. However, they can make people think, make them aware, and give a bit of humanity to these issues that are often considered only from an economic point of view.

What interested you in combining the song J’attends with a poem by Peter Handke?
I love this poem that encourages us to take time… “Pass through the villages”. And since the song was about waiting and the emptiness I felt during the confinement, I thought it was interesting to have a more positive counterpoint and counterpoint, about letting time pass without anxiety and guilt. We are in a time where everything goes very fast.

What do you like about mixing jazz, indie pop and electro on your album?
Everything! I love jazz, I come from it, but I don’t want to be the new Ella or the new Sarah singing in a jazz quartet. I also like French song, pop, electro and I wanted to break the barriers between these different genres to make music that suits me.

2 worlds seem important to you on this opus: water (rivers, lake) and Switzerland (Geneva, Lake Geneva). What does this evoke to you and why these choices ?
Oh, I wasn’t aware of that 😉 maybe water, the liquid element, is something reassuring… or maybe it’s something that leaks, that we can’t hold in our hands, like time? As for Switzerland, I love this country as much as I hate it. The appearance is perfect, beauty, calm, wealth but if you scratch a little you find misery, prostitution, as everywhere. This is what I wanted to say in Porn Geneva.

Is there a place where you like to take refuge to compose?
Sometimes I dream of a studio lost in the countryside, but in the end I am very well in my 93. I am in direct contact with the world of today and its diversity.

How did you work with Leandro Aconcha for the recordings and did everything go well?
We worked at a distance because it was during the confinement. I sent Leandro the first demos of the songs with already the programming and the atmospheres and I asked him for keyboard parts in adequacy with what I told in the song.
For example on “J’attends” I said to him: “Do me some Eric Satie but in Blues”. He did it very well 😉

What would you like to say to the contributors who supported you for the album Le monde est fou ?
To tell them a big thank you! It’s thanks to them that I was able to make this album because even if the production didn’t cost much, without them I wouldn’t have had enough funds to complete the project.

What did you like to propose an animated clip for Le monde est fou?
The world is crazy is about the destruction of the earth by man. And as it was difficult and expensive 😉 to run to the four corners of the world to make images of the Amazonian forest, the whale hunt or the nuclear power stations of Fukushima, I decided to make an animated clip. And Loran Gouy, the director, did a wonderful graphic work compared to the ideas I could have to illustrate the song.

The cover of the album is rather significant… It is to take the head or to tear out the hair to live in the world where we are… Would you like to tell us a few words about the artwork ?
I am quite happy with this picture. Indeed I am taking my head, and at the same time I look at the distance. Incredulous look or look of hope? We don’t know.
Karine Filloux took the photos for the album and the booklet and I designed the artwork. In short, this object couldn’t be more like me 😉

What do you appreciate in the scene and are there any concerts scheduled?
I love the scene. That’s when the songs come to life. For the moment we don’t have any gigs planned, especially since there is a big traffic jam with the big names who are going back on the road after this COVID episode.
I hope to play this album live in 2022/2023.

You start Le monde est fou like a nursery rhyme before ending it in apocalypse. Reassure us, the end of the world is not for immediately?
No, not right away. On the other hand, if we are not careful, it could be the day after tomorrow.

What would you like to say in closing?
Thanks to you for this interview and let’s try to be as happy as possible in this crazy world!

Thanks to Isa Somparé for answering our interview!

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