French Song and Hymns are two musical sound pieces that both question, using recogniz- able tunes, the concepts of be- longing and appropriation.
The first comprises excerpts from popular French songs sung a cappella by a woman’s voice. For a French person, these songs project the listen- er into an entire space-time made of memories, to a cer- tain period in time, a form of cultural identity; but do they mean anything to a foreigner? Must one understand, or at least be familiar with, Bourvil’s “Le Bal Perdu”, Edith Piaf’s “La vie en Rose”, Alain Souchon or France Gall in order to feel French or to grasp what the French spirit is all about?
In Hymns, several national an- thems are played on the guitar, which the viewer can attempt to identify. The anthem, the sonic equivalent to the flag, is an allegory crystallizing the symbolic representation of a nation and national identity. Consolidating the community spirit within the country, fos- tering a feeling of cohesion and belonging while reinforc- ing its image in terms of iden- tity in the eyes of the rest of the world.
Must we forget the anthem of the country we leave and learn the one of the country in which we settle? Is knowing and rec- ognizing this air a sign of one’s desire to integrate?