Arthur Genibre speaks about the farming world

An interview conducted as part of the writing of Singularités ordinaires.

“I was born in 1920, on June, 16! I'm not so young as I once was, you know. My name is Arthur Genibre. I was born in St Christophe-La-Guillou and that's our house! There, sometimes, at night, I used to wake up, climb onto the roof to compose music, looking at the stars. I was interested in that. My nickname is “Lou Finau”. You may have heard it. My father was a musician, too, a great musician. As for me, I have a gift for composing music. It comes to me as easy as A.B.C. “Bam!” All of a sudden, a waltz or whatever, … I could compose anything. I can still remember all that and it's a real pleasure.” “Composing? It came to me just like that while I was ploughing. I mean, yes, I started composing music while I was ploughing. However, I used to go by the river and tend the cows to play it. The old ones didn't like it when I made music because to them it making music and being a farmer don't match up... I had to hide. So I used to tuck my flute in my pocket, go to the meadow and tend the cows. Once there, I would start playing. But I would face the river so as not to be heard. Near by, there often were girls tending their cows and chitchatting. Once I wanted to jump over the river to see them and I obviously jumped into it instead. I was soaked to the skin. Then... I started composing some music.” “And believe it or lips failed me, I couldn't play with my lips. So what could I do? I had to sort that out. I was told 'you got to play!'. So, that’s what I did (he puts the flute into his nose and starts playing one of the songs he wrote, his sick fingers sometimes slip on the instrument.) I can't play, my fingers are deformed, I'm doing goosenotes and it's not because of the instrument. So I would use my nose! And then, later, I said to myself... 'Here I will play… with the music'... (he pretends to stick the instrument into his body, between the plexus and the stomach.) “My father was a great musician, the best of them all. The clarinet is the most difficult instrument to play. He didn't like to play easy songs, he would always play the most difficult ones. And to play them as he did, er, you had your work cut out for you! He played with great musicians. We, artists and gifted people, we wear funny clothes. You can imagine my father was like me, so when he went to a party he wouldn't put on his Sunday best. We must be badly dressed, you know. We can't be just like everybody else, we must stand out.” “Do your children like it when you're playing music at home? — Oh, they're more interested in watching TV than... They liked it in the beginning but they just don't pay any heed now. I never take the accordion, I no longer play it. — And when you first met your wife, did she like your music? — Oh, not that much, in the beginning... It's always the same, you know. She would have liked it but she got the set and started listening to it, then our music was spoiled. She would have liked it, it's a shame, I would have accompanied her and all but then she bought that TV set and that was the end of it all. From then on, nothing was the same. Our music was spoiled. As for me, I've never quit, I think of it everyday. I think of it everyday, all day long, I can't stop thinking of it: it's a job like any other job...”

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