Fifty springs, and not a wrinkle! Throughout 2021, the radio of all music celebrates its eternal youth, with drums, trumpets and smiles. On the menu since January 5: special programs, historical podcasts and others chiseled for the occasion, the launch of the Auditors Portraits contest… In March, release of the 50 Years of FIP box set, on the independent label Pias. For International Women’s Day, FIP will broadcast an episode of its Pink Note podcast every week until the end of April, devoted to the voice of women. Many other events are planned, but depend on the government’s decisions relating to the pandemic: in May, exhibition of the winners of the competition, an immersive experience in sound with Canapé Island, an unprecedented concert by the Unik Session of FIP or, in June, Music festival concert at the Arènes de Lutèce.
To tell us about our rainbow radio, an emblematic voice of the antenna, Jane Villenet, and an extraordinary musician, Thomas de Pourquery, singer, saxophonist and blower in the bronchial tubes of well-thought.
How would you describe FIP, Jane?
Jane Villenet At the height of its fifty years, FIP has embraced its time. 1971 is after-May-68: she dares. Year after year, she accompanies her listeners in their car, in their living room, in the office, everywhere. And tells them how long they will spend in traffic jams, which artists to discover, which exhibitions or plays not to be missed… FIP is a smile on the agenda.
FIP belongs to the collective memory and, from the start, stands out for its female voices, not vases, but commentators with gentle insolence. Do you remember it?
Thomas de Pourquery Yes, I remember the times I spent in traffic with my parents, when I was a kid. Nice and even funny moments, thanks to the willingly mischievous remarks of the animators, for example about the attitude of the drivers in traffic jams. These facetious female voices embody FIP.
As a teenager, I recorded some Jazz at FIP to pick up solos that I wanted to study. FIP developed playlists before their time, mixing genres, from Bach to Nina Simone, including Archie Shepp and Barbara. It was avant-garde.
Saturdays, at 8 pm, Jane, you become a storyteller in the FIP Years, alternating with Gaëlle Renard …
Jane Villenet For an hour, we will highlight a particular year. Gaëlle will begin on January 9 with the year of birth of the radio. On January 16, it will be the turn of 1972, etc. In total, fifty Saturdays to illustrate fifty years of radio! Recall that in 1971, FIP witnessed the release of titles that have become legendary, Melody Nelson’s Ballad (from Gainsbourg), Here’s To You (Joan Baez)… In addition, Friday, from 8 pm to 9 pm, will be rebroadcast a historic live until the end of the year. On January 8, I kick off the series with Sting.
What is your best memory ?
Jane Villenet For Live at FIP, it is precisely the show with Sting in 2007, when he came to present at studio 104 his album Songs From The Labyrinth, with the Bosnian lutenist Edin Karamazov, as shy as Sting was talkative. It was wildly elegant. Sting was incredibly kind, not a star for two rounds. Unforgettable too, the live with Richie Havens (who opened the Woodstock festival in 1969), as well as bluesman Eric Bibb. Of course, there are others, we are spoiled.
Thomas, on the occasion of your monthly Sounds of Joy meeting, from January to June, you will take us to the four corners of the world, to discover innovative scenes. What will be the first step?
Thomas de Pourquery Through Sounds of Joy, I would like to share my favorites, with the invaluable help of director Denis Soula and programmer Jean Rovarino. Once a month, these podcasts will transport us successively to England, Congo, Canada … Wednesday January 27, we will head to London, the hub of a rich musical proliferation of which saxophonist and clarinetist Shabaka Hutchings is in a way the big Brother. These include saxophonist and flautist Nubya Garcia, trumpeter (and leader of the Kokoroko group) Sheila Maurice-Gray, singer Zara McFarlane…
The Tomorrow’s Warriors school, founded in 1991 in London by Janine Irons and Gary Crosby, has helped open up jazz and music in general, by being accessible to young people from the suburbs. Thus have emerged artists representing a wide diversity of origins, in particular a lot of women. An example which should be inspired by France where, in particular, jazz is still practiced mostly by men. During Sounds of Joy, we will start from artists we know. And we will draw the thread of fruitful connections. For me, FIP shows wonderfully that music, through the encounters it allows and through its inexhaustible sources of interbreeding, is a wonderful place of sorority and fraternity.
Since the first confinement, what changes has FIP made?
Jane Villenet When a year such as the one we have just passed comes up, FIP is, like everyone else, at first dumbfounded, but not silent for long. After a few days of music without words (the music never stopped on the air), the FIP presenters record messages on their cellphones, replay launches from Jazz to FIP and Live to FIP, then gradually return on the air from mid-May. The auditor has never been abandoned. The programmers did a good job, with softer, more cocooning atmospheres than usual. FIP took care of the ears and, in a sense, of the morale of its listeners.
In your opinion, has the government not sacrificed culture?
Thomas de Pourquery Yes. A painful feeling for the artists, for all the professionals of the branch and even for the music lovers. A feeling of anger too. This sector has been stigmatized without having been demonstrated that it has been the source of outbreaks of contagion. Nothing significant has been suggested, in particular by our governors, so that artistic and cultural activities can be carried out differently and in complete safety, including in theaters. It is an infernal choice of society, which amounts to saying to us: “Shut up and work! “
Jane, you have been serving FIP for almost forty years. No feeling of routine?
Jane Villenet Never. Having worked a few weeks, a few short months on other radio stations (France Inter, RFI, Europe 1), I have always found that FIP was the freest radio station there is. Apart from the partnerships and the songs defended by the antenna, I always chose what I was going to talk about. Free subjects, free tone, free exercise. I did not see the time pass thanks to this essential freedom.