Anne Sylvestre, death of an avant-garde “witch”

In September 2019, on the occasion of the release of her last show, Manèges, Anne Sylvestre told Release his debut on stage, when stage fright made him jump “The ball joints”. “Every time I left the stage, I locked myself in the toilet to cry, I said to myself ‘finished, I quit’… And then I came back. It took me years to admit to myself that maybe people loved me. ” The singer finally bowed out on Monday, at the age of 86, succumbing to a stroke, after more than sixty years of a very scenic and eminently free career. She leaves behind a colorful repertoire, made up of musical tales for children, the famous Fabulettes, which earned him to have left his name to schools, and very committed songs, with a strong feminist accent.

Read also[Portrait] Anne Sylvestre, vocals, off camera

Throughout her career, Anne Sylvestre has mobilized for the condition of women, claiming the term of singer “feminist”. Her status as a committed artist keeps her in the shadows, far from media exposure and radio stations: “I was the pain in the ass, but my gosh, if that was the price to pay…” In 1973, two years before the Veil law, she released “No, you don’t have a name” on abortion. “In the 1970s, I noticed that a lot of women wrote, spoke, filmed… and said the same things, she confided to Libé in an interview in 1998. “No, you don’t have a name, “I wrote it in my little bubble, to my personal account. Before the abortion law passed. It was used by Family Planning, and of course , banned from radios. “

In A witch like the others? (1975), she deciphers the misogyny of French society: “You must / Be like the stream / Like the clear water of the pond / Which reflects and which waits / Please / Look at me I am real.” Of her activism, she also declared: “I’ve been labeled a bad feminist, and a lot of people haven’t looked any further. Still, I’ve written a lot about men, and lots of other things. ”

Read alsoAnne Sylvestre, sixty years of avant-garde


A precursor, she was also in 2007, when she came out Gay let’s get married a song that precedes debates and French law in favor of same-sex marriage: “Gay gay let’s get married / So climb on my knees / This is the first step / The Pope will not like it.” The one who confessed “Adore making andouille”, had shaped a style full of humor, while irreverence. Never at the top of the bill but always very present in the French musical landscape, Anne Sylvestre, with her high, captivating voice, embodied this song with text, intelligent, disregarding fashion, in the wake of a Guy Béart or by a Georges Brassens.

Like them, Anne-Marie Beugras, born in Lyon on June 20, 1934, started at the end of the 1950s in a cabaret on the left bank in Paris, la Colombe, near Notre-Dame, where we also find Ferrat. or Moustaki … Under the pseudonym Anne Sylvestre, she became one of the first women to write and compose her songs, alongside Nicole Louvier or Hélène Martin.

Read alsoA return from Anne Sylvestre

His Fabulettes, that she has always refused to sing on stage, have rocked entire generations, and perhaps her finest act lies there, to have taken this young audience to her adult repertoire. Of her balance sheet, she said: “I fill my rooms and when someone in the street says to me ‘excuse me but I love you’, it’s wonderful.”

Romain Boulho with AFP


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