Les Siestes électroniques is a good example of collaborations between a museum and open-air music festival. We heard a lot about it and were very happy to have a chance to chat with Jeanne-Sophie Fort, Director of Communications, about the festival and, most importantly – about the idea of preserving and exposing the museum’s music collection through digitization and interpretation. She joined the project after the 10th edition of the festival.
"I knew about Les Siestes électroniques because of its line-up. I was quite attracted by this unusual event that was questioning the music in its own way. At that time I was living in a different city, but I moved to Toulouse to join the team. Since then, I've felt blessed to be part of such a project which sounds different each year and which keeps on surprising me," - says Jeanne-Sophie.
Les Siestes électroniques is an annual summer festival organized in partnership with famous Musée du quai Branly.
The museum was chosen for its vast ethnographic collection of artifacts from all over the world. It contains thousands of paintings and sculptures of indigenous art and culture from Asia, Africa, South America and Oceania, and its exhibition space is conceptually divided into smaller halls to present both permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. Its architecture and outdoor spaces deserve a separate feature. Back to the festival!
The festival engages larger audiences bringing together emerging artists, musicians, and those interested in contemporary culture. Born in Toulouse, the project very soon moved to Paris. Today the festival has expanded vastly and has editions in Berlin, Montreal, Amsterdam, Abu Dhabi and Riga.
Jeanne-Sophie Fort: “Les Siestes Electroniques is an event that unearths gems from across the musical spectrum. At the quai Branly museum you can find an audio collection with rare traditional sounds from all over the world. We found it extremely interesting to get in touch with the institution to propose to highlight these musical treasures.“
The idea is to provide musicians with an access to the existing audio collection of rare music from Asia, Africa and Oceania and let them reinterpret it thus presenting it to larger audiences. The digital library of the museum is worth browsing through. Apart from a fascinating mediatheque, quai Branly organizes seminars and colloquiums, and produces publications. All these activities contribute to creating a dialogue between the institution and its audiences as well as different cultures.
“The artists are invited to dig into the ethno-musical bank housed in the museum to rework freely this much sought-after sound material.” – says Jeanne-Sophie. “Les Siestes électroniques aims to bring out the musical reserve of the museum by making it accessible to the general public but also to bring artists to renew their creative practices and their sources of inspiration through an original repertoire.”
The festival is free of charge and the format is very laid back, engaging different audiences. In the line up – Débruit, Awesome Tapes from Africa, Para One and more. The notable thing is that Les Siestes électroniques doesn’t target a particular audience such as music professionals or anthropologists. Pretty much everyone who wants to listen to good music can come and spend an afternoon chilling on the lawn. The beautiful setting creates a truly special atmosphere. Quai Branly opened its doors to the festival back in 2006 and since then the beautiful museum garden, designed by Gilles Clément, has served the most incredible setting for this outdoor event. Les Siestes électroniques runs every summer, usually in July, and has performances every weekend. Check out the schedule and program and try to make it to quai Branly and listen to the best electronic musicians responding to the vast ethnomusicological collection of the museum.