since April 14th 2018

Carrousel Musical

Abbaye aux Dames, Saintes


The Fondation d’entreprise Martell in Cognac and the Abbaye aux Dames in Saintes initiated in 2017 a partnership for the creation of the Musical Carousel. This giant digital instrumentarium, housed under a shell of silver mirrors, is a world premiere. Inside, a giant basilisk, a mythological hybrid figure, contains in its rattan body digital instruments that can be used by everyone. Bows, harps, electro acoustic loop, drums, keyboards, vocal chords are experimented, in collaborative and interactive modes, in a fairground and poetic universe. The Musical Carousel is thus innovative both in terms of approach to music and of the level of technologies developed.

On the occasion of this new local cultural partnership, the Foundation hosted in residence in Cognac the choreographer Catherine Contour and the sound designers Blue Yéti. Together they invented a sensory, corporal and musical creation paying tribute to the Gâtebourse tower, which is currently under construction. Among the three tracks played in the Carousel, one is the result of this residency. This track echoes the memory of the old bottling tower by restoring the sounds, stories and images of the people and gestures that animated it. Entering the Carousel, the visitor seizes this new musical object and the instruments that compose it, giving life to the vanished universe of the Gâtebourse tower. The melodies created are unique to each ride.

The two artists studied a wide range of professions to restore this corpus of sounds. They met pensioners who had worked in the Gâtebourse tower, employees who worked on making the cognac and winemakers who supplied the raw material, the grapes. They also visited the new factory, the company Verallia, cooperage (Leroi) and cellars, that is to say the whole channel of cognac.

Catherine Contour, born in Paris and living near Grenoble, puts energetics and hypnosis at the heart of her work. Her approach to body and movement explores the artistic possibilities of this practice and makes it a specific tool for creation.

Since 2007, Blue Yéti, sound and multimedia design studio, develops interactive devices for cultural, educational and artistic uses. Its scientific and technical know-how is based on skills acquired in the fields of computer music and human-machine interaction, transposed into sensory creations. Co-founder of Blue Yeti, Jean-Michel Couturier is a composer in electroacoustic music. He has also a PhD in music computing and he is an engineer specialized in electronics and computing.