She shakes hands, firmly. Rehearsals have just ended at Studio Bleu, adjoining the New Morning, in the Strasbourg-Saint-Denis district, in Paris. She asks where we are going, the Napoleon? All right, let’s go. But first, she shows us the dancers’ changing rooms, because she loves dancing, firmly there too. We feel assured and fierce, shy and brave. We were warned here and there that Catherine Ringer was no small task. But there was no doubt, from the broken tooth, the strapless dress marked Jean Paul Gaultier in the clip by Marcia Baïla , the unstructured haircuts, the explosive voice, the shimmering clothes, the gesture mixing flamenco with jerky expressions. and robotics, the clash with Gainsbourg on the sofa, the past X.
The Rita Mitsouko, this clever mix of genres, duo of whimsical lovers and pranksters born in 1979, evoking Sailor and Lula as much as Gomez and Morticia Addams, Almodóvar’s movida than the punk of dirty caves, their heads constantly immersed in a vast musical well, without censorship or constraint, digging up sounds to better hack new, creating immense tubes like Marcia Baïla , Andy and C’est comme ça , stacking the levels of readings, seizing the clip format from the start with Philippe Gautier and Jean-Baptiste Mondino, falling in love with free figuration with Robert Combas and Di Rosa, appearing in Soigne ta droite(1987) de Godard, taking care of the funny face and the zinzin, the irony and the mockery, solid because riveted to each other, with some crashes all the same here and there.
Forty years after their formation, thirteen years after the death of Fred Chichin, Catherine Ringer publishes the complete reissue of the Rita Mitsouko, nine albums with new releases and two legendary films shot by Roland Allard in Moscow ( Breakdown in the Cold War, 1989) and in Bombay ( La Vie du rail, 1990). And is named to the Victoires de la musique 2020 in the female artist of the year category. She does not like to tell herself very much, out of a taste for mystery and a certain posture, perhaps also because it is hard to describe the atypism of their tandem in the French rock landscape, from India and halo of success, poetic and stupid of scenes, cartoonesque and follower of the autopastiche. The Rita, quite simply.
You are nominated for the Victoires de la Musique in the female artist of the year category. Do prices matter to you?
Catherine Ringer – Yes and no. It’s nice to know that we are thinking of you, at the same time it is not fundamental. I wonder especially why Aya Nakamura is not there since it is she who has done everything for two years. She has fantastic life energy. His work on language and rhythm is very beautiful. And then I also said to myself: “Well, I am named as a female artist, but I would have liked to be named also for the best album of the year!”
It’s surprising that there are only men in this category, right?
Maybe it’s because they made the best albums of the year. We are not going to make the par everywhere everywhere anyway!
Does it swell you?
These are endless discussions. My first reaction is to say “Where does it end? How about half the young and half the old too ?! ”But I also know that there are glass ceilings to break. I have no definite answer.