Sunday 21 July 2019

No feline on the horizon: Bono's musical tribute to a dead cat opens new album

Pharrell Williams
Sophie Calle
Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

THE cat is out of the bag about Bono's latest, and rather unusual, music project.

It has emerged that the U2 frontman is one of the stars who have contributed to an album in memory of an artist's dead cat.

This may not be that surprising to his fans because, after all, Bono is the man who brought us 'The Fly' as part of the 'Achtung Baby' album.

But not since 'Smelly Cat' by Phoebe Buffay in the television hit show 'Friends' has a musical project about a cat generated so much excitement.

The idea behind the new album came from French conceptual artist Sophie Calle who enlisted 38 musicians, also including Pharrell Williams and Jarvis Cocker, to contribute original music for her latest show which opened in Paris.

Musicians were tasked with writing a song dedicated to the memory of her late cat Souris, which translates as "mouse" in English.

It was following the cat's death that her friend, the American artist Laurie Anderson, composed a song for the pet, and this gift prompted Ms Calle to consider recruiting others to record a memorial album.

Ms Calle said some of the musicians who contributed to the memorial album knew her cat personally. She sent those who had never met Souris photos and descriptions, as well as a short video of their everyday life together. The artist had the pet, who died in 2014, for 17 years.

'Souris Calle' opens with an message from Bono who speaks over music. Calle announced the project in June and the project opened at the Perrotin gallery in Paris this month.

The exhibit includes a series of photos and texts that she wrote not just about the death of her cat, but also her close family and friends.

Visitors to the solo show can listen to the tracks at stations around the famous gallery.

The exhibition will run in the French capital until December 22 .

Sophie Calle previously explained to Artnet: "When you say you're sad about the cat, it's a bit obscene for people. You can't say that.

"I mean, if I say my mother or my father is dead, everyone tells me: 'Oh, poor thing, she lost her mother, oh, poor thing, she lost her father'.

"But if we say that about our cat, we seem ridiculous. It makes me laugh when, for me in my daily life, it was almost more violent, because I lived with my cat. I didn't live with my parents."

Some of the artists composed pieces about Souris, while others wrote about cats and others focused on the wider theme of grief.

Irish Independent

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