I would like to share a clip done in support for Nûdem Durak, a Kurdish singer incarcerated in Turkey, sentenced to 19 years in prison for having sung in her maternal language. And I would like to immerse you in this lovely story of solidarity, of universal sisterhood and of the collective creation that led to it.
The magical binding element was provided by Coline Linder. She is the essential one and I would like to introduce you to her.
Coline is a multidisciplinary artist. No matter what strikes a chord for you, she will touch it. The door to your affections is visual? She will touch you with the tip of her paintbrush. The road to your heart is paved with words? Her texts will come toward you. Are you a sensitive music lover? Coline will generously invite you into her musical universe. Are you more of a bent to defend causes? She will stand in solidarity by your side.
Inevitably, you will run across Coline on stage, in an exhibition or during a solidarity initiative and you will share her treasures.
In a reportage done in 2016 describing her quite well, one can read: “Behind her wide smile and her gales of singular laughter, one senses that she is inhabited by a feeling of revolt and injustice against the ills affecting our current society.” She answered: “I attempt to express this anger in a more poetical than political way. This is my way of getting involved.”
One way or another, you will be touched by the emotion and the affection that radiate from this young woman from Strasburg, now settled in the Angevin for the past fifteen years. The daughter of parents who were artists, she could not have turned out any other way. She is overloaded with projects, often carried out with an impressive sense of the collective.
Coline is in the habit of carrying out severeal cross-breeding projects at the same time. She founded Titi Zaro with Oriane Lacaille, a duo that became a women’s quartet in 2015. There are so many others that I can only mention a few, such as her collaboration with The Women’s Tribe, the Lo’Jo, Denis Péan’s group.
Or yet again, her contribution to “Mano à Mano” with Momette, a workshop project with refugees from Calais, but also with schools and retirement homes, in order to “move art along to others, invent truces, experiment shelter-moments, in order to do and to be together, with art as a tool, a passport, an alibi, a language, art for the common good.”
These days, you will run into her in a duo with Freddy Boisliveau: Baïne Kahlo… And she has an ongoing project, “Ouroboros” that aims to “weave links between people”, a kind of culmination resulting from her extremely diverse experiences.
This is Coline. Necessarily, our paths crossed.
• First of all Coline, I want to thank you for your musical and poetic support as an artist to several causes, but also for being the woman, the sensitive, generous and present friend…You have just completed a clip “Bişenga Delal” with your artist friends who contributed in various ways to this collective project done in solidarity. I have only one question, could you tell us about the path you followed and how this precious gift came to be?
• A few years ago, I saw the film by Mylène Sauloy, “La guerre des filles” (The girls’ war”). This film was clearly an emotional shock for me. For six months, I couldn’t write a single word. I was ready to go over there.
I went through a period of self-questioning of my function as a poet, as an artist. At first, I had the impression that all that was useless… Then, I told myself there were struggles to be fought there also. You have to fight with your own weapons. This is how I managed to escape from this sadness and a feeling of powerlessness.
A first song was born from these reflections, “L’hymne des louves” (The Hymn of the She-wolves), sung by Titi Zaro and dedicated to those women who fight evil, but not only…Through them, this song is for all women from every period: A song for women who through their sweat, their smiles and their courage protect the beauty of the world.
In January 2018, Zehra Dogan’s works were exhibited in Angers at the gallery Tour Saint Aubain. On January 20, “Une nuit de lectures” (A night of readings) was held in Angers. That evening, I wanted to listen to a reading by Denis Lavant. I was with my father, the poet Alain Ligier, and my friend Loredana Lanciano, an artist and comedian. We arrived late and could not get in. Right next door, at the gallery, the lights were still on… we went toward them. This was my great meeting with Zehra’s work. Her poignant testimony, the power of her artistic expression overwhelmed us. And we learned even more about the history of the Kurdish people.
Moreover, Zehra’s work whispered to me about the importance of art, of poetry, in the struggle, and it showed me, once again, the place for my own work. “Yes, yes, it is most important to offer another perspective through art, one that leads through an emotional path to reflection and subversion,” I told myself.
I was folowing Kedistan, and shared my song “L’hymne des louves” with the team, discussed with them… I became immersed in Zehra’s universe, for entire sleepless nights, reading the translations of her prison letters. And of course, inevitably, I started talking about her, who was still imprisoned at the time, everywhere my feet took me, and everywhere my voice carried. I sang for her, during a support initiative in which Eléonore Fourniaux and Nolwenn Korbell participated, read excerpts of her writings in my concerts, at support initiatives, I spoke of her testimony, of her people, of Kurdish women.
The Kurdish cause finds a particularly strong resonance in me. It’s almost physical. What I experience when I hear the Kurdish language, and when I sing now, is something powerful and beautiful.
The political, philosophical, combative side of the Kurdish cause, warlike when need be, but also its committed, poetical, feminine and feminist sides are balanced. A balance that encompasses everything.
Then, I met Nûdem Durak in the pages of Kedistan. Another sister… I immediately experienced a very powerful sisterhood. Moreover, I shared music with her. A very powerful link. She was a singer. An artist thrown in prison for having sung in Kurdish, her maternal language.
Recently, I had been working a lot. And the confinement arrived. This imposed shutting off was a period of meditation for me. Immersion in Nûdem’s world, her music, the Kurdish language in her mouth… I listened to her a lot.
“Bişenga Delal” moved me in particular. This song was composed in 1991 by Peşeng Papo and the current lyrics are from the group Koma Awazê Çîya. But for me, it is one of Nûdem’s songs, because I met it through her voice, with her group Koma Sorxwîn. She may be in prison but her voice is free. That is the power of art you cannot keep in a cage.
So I began to sing her. During the time of confinement, we gave concerts every Friday, live on the Facebook page of Baïne Kahlo. And every Friday, I spoke about Nûdem, I sang “Bişenga Delal”, for her freedom, and I continue to do so…
Once the words were translated and following a bit of research, I also learned what this song was about, who was Bişeng…
Bişeng Anık, a young Kurdish girl, 16 years old, was arrested and killed by the police in 1992. On March 21 of that year, the Newroz (Kurdish New Year) had already been put down by the police. On that day, in the town of Şırnak (Şirnex in Kurdish), there were 103 deaths, 47 of them on the square where the Newroz celebrations were being held.
Bişeng was arrested and taken into custody on March 23, following police raids targeting students. Her body was given back to her family on March 24. Her body showed wounds, lacerations on the legs and feet. She had been executed with a bullet to the head. Clutched between her fingers, she was still holding a Kurdish bracelet in three colors, yellow, red and green… She then became one of the icons of the Kurdish struggle.
In fact, a well known Kurdish dengbêj (bard), Salihê Şirnekî (from Şirnex) composed and sang a lament for her, the traditional song interpreted following a death. This bard was killed also, in his town, in 2015… Bişeng’s case was also recorded by Amnesty International in 1992.
I learned all this… Then I shared this information with other artist friends. They were moved as I was, and these friends contributed to this project, each one bringing some of her art, her words, her music…
For us, it also represent a reflection on how to weave spaces of freedom inside confinement…Just like Zehra, just like Nûdem, just like so many others.
It is really great to see how they became involved. Even Freddy, my musical companion, is extremely enthusiastic. It’s beautiful to see.
It’s my turn to present to you these friends who are scattered a bit all over. Everyone, or almost, worked out of confinement.
Annabelle Galland from the group Les Or-l’Amour, invited herself with her double bass and Freddy Boisliveau, with his guitar. From the duo Farfallina Intrepida, David Boidin contributed his talents on the beat box and Loredana Lanciano, of Italian origin, her singing in her native language. Speaking of voices; Nadia and Yamina Nid el Mourdi from the Lo’Jo‘s and singer Bénédicte Ragu, form the chorus. Laura Caronni from Las Hermanas Caronni grabbed her cello, Mélanie Bourire a musician, singer and percussionist from La Réunion, a member of the group Kombo said yes immediately… The duo Bonbon Voudou answered present: Oriane Lacaille on percussions and Jerem Boucris, with his “canister guitar”… And even their 4 year old daughter Josephine, contributed to the project…
All these musical recordings were gathered up and assembled by Freddy.
And, of course, we wanted a collective clip for this collective song. The scenes were filmed on the shores of the Loire.
Our dancer friends contributed with their body language. Women’s bodies, so important in the Kurdish people’s struggle, these bodies that serve as the door to the spirit, mistreated with such impunity by women’s ennemies, had to express themselves also, so that this modest offering of solidarity could be complete. Sophie Couineau, Falila Tairou, Carole Bonneau, Lucile Cartreau danced in the spring fields. They had just stepped out of confinement and hadn’t danced for a long time. This was also a very powerful moment for them…
Both the mixing and the editing went like magic. Each of these contributions quickly found their natural setting.
Here then is our solidarity contribution to the support campaign for the liberation of Nûdem Durak, a campaign you can follow and support by clicking on the links below:
You can support Nûdem Durak
Petition Free Nûdem Durak • Facebook @nudemdurak • Twitter @NudemDurak • Instagram @freenudemdurak • Youtube Free Nûdem Durak • Write to Nûdem and her friends in prison: Nûdem Durak M Tipi Kapalı Cezaevi Bayburt – TURKEY
BİŞENGA DELAL • MUSIQUE : Annabelle Galland, Nadia Nid el Mourid, Oriane Lacaille, Loredana Lanciano, Laura Caronni, Bénédicte Ragu, Yamina Nid el Mourid, Freddy Boisliveau, Jerem Boucris, Mélanie Bourire, Josephine Boucris, David Boidin, Coline Linder. • DANSES : Sophie Couineau, Falila Tairou, Carole Bonneau, Lucile Cartreau • SON, MIXAGE ET MASTERING : Freddy Boisliveau • IMAGES REALISATION, MONTAGE : Coline Linder. Avril/Mai 2020, en solidarité avec Nûdem Durak
An approximate English translation of the words follows:
Your love is made of fire
Of the sacred fire and conviction
This road, this intent
Are life and hope
You have re-written this History
With your limpid blood
You were the star of the radiant day
Brave Beritan’s companion
Oh precious Bişeng
You started to dance
Under the warmth of the sun’s rays
Flowers bloomed for you
On the battle fields
You were love in the hearts
Oh Kurdish girl
Dress in you precious marriage veil
Thousands are marching
In your footsteps today
You are the symbol of the new life
Oh precious Bişeng
Evîna te ji agir e, agirê pîroz
Bawerî, hevi û jîn e ev rê û ev doz
Wê dîrok ji nû ve nivîsî bi xwîna zelal
Bû sitêrkek roja ronî Bişenga delal
Bûyî hevala Berîtan sipehî û lehengê
Bi tîna tîrêjên rojê ketî govendê
Kûlîlk bi navê te bişkivîn li qada cengê
De rabe xweliyê li xweke ey bûka şengê
Gula baxê welatê min Bişenga delal/ciwan
Di nav dilan tû bûyî evîn ey keça Kurdan
Îro rêya te dimeşin em bi hezaran
Tû bûyî sembola jîna nû Bişenga delal
Transcription : Adorenas Çelik