There are some fellow travelers whom we invite in our intimate perimeter without never meeting them. In Denis Colin’s journey, Nino Ferrer is this traveler, whom presence has always been far but persistent. Both men never met, never exchanged a word nor a note. But it is like if, hidden within Denis’ heart, the singer had to some extent always been there…
It is there, in this search of interactions as well as fragile and intense balances between melody, verb and song, that Univers Nino also draws all his essence, all his sense. With kind of an echo, which at once would cross time and genres, he answers the same requirements and ideals than those of the Téléfon and Oh Eh Hein Bon‘s author – who, blues and soul lover trained through jazz, lift himself out of his condition of yé-yé star to rise to the rank of a fully-fledged composer in the Seventies, free of show-biz constraints and popular song formats. It is to this Nino Ferrer, a creator refusing routine and facility, effusive, daredevil and finally ignored, that Denis Colin pays also tribute – a tribute all but affected, an homage to the level of the figure.
Not only did Denis Colin rise to the challenge: it spiced it by brightening it up with finds as audacious as judicious. Initially by handing the reins of vocal interpretation mainly to Ornette, the singer and keyboardist who conveys so naturally Nino Ferrer’s word towards expressive and totally pristine horizons. Then by writing arrangements for an ensemble as original as inventive. Playing the bass clarinet, an instrument completely absent from Nino Ferrer’s recorded heritage, already represented by itself kind of a challenge.
At the repertoire level, with the Mirza and Gherkins rhythm’ blues revisited pranks as well as the instantaneous classics such as Le Sud, La Maison près de la fontaine or The Garden, thus answer, with a rich and deep counterpoint, more twisted, dark and erudite late compositions, such these crabby pop tops that are Métronomie, Le Blues des rues désertes, L’Arbre Noir or La Désabusion. A whole network of secret correspondences, composed of tenuous wires, faults and cracks, is so woven into the very heart of Nino Ferrer’s repertoire.
This subtle mesh extends on scene by shades and reflections through Bruno Girard’s pictorial works, delicate graphic references to Hugo Pratt’s universe – a Nino Ferrer’s close relation, whom he drawn under the melancholic features of a captain of the white army in Corto Maltese en Sibérie.
Univers Nino draws a whole changing and moving world, and carries out what any musical adventure worthy of this name should be: it is at the same time an individual and collective poetic challenge, a profitable exchange of fluids and energies between past and present, an ode mingled with the priceless richness of the memory as well as with the unforeseeable forces of imagination.
VERSION OF SONG MOBY DICK BY UNIVERS NINO
Denis Colin | Realization, bass clarinet, arrangement
Ornette | Singing, keyboards
Antoine Berjeaut | Trumpet, bugle
Julien Omé | Guitares
Théo Girard | Basses
François Merville | Drums
Bruno Girard | Artistic Director
Gilles Olivesi | Sound engineerin
Jean-Mo Dutriaux | Lights