As part of the Month of la Francophonie
Today's bards and griots, brought up on antiquity, the classics, the romantics and the surrealists;; cradled by Brassens, Gainsbourg, Ferré, and Brel; accompanied by Higelin, Nougaro; enriched by Indian thinkers, the gaze of Native Americans, African culture, hip-hop, Artaud's madness…
The Compagnie de l'Uppercut brings together two modern-day troubadours, actors by training—Damien Noury and Antoine Faure. Since its origins in 1998, they have developed around three creative principles: the work of writing, mixed means of expression, and a concern for the relationship with the audience during the performance.
Through their performances Uppercut questions what it is to be human, with our pitfalls and struggles, and attempts to provoke through language a sense of unity that will touch artists as well as the audience.
With Sandra Bechtel, they first co-wrote a manifesto about creation and then created Bala Fola, Burkinabè stories for three actors and a griot musician, Bakary Diarra. Antoine Faure, AKA Tô, performed slam scenes, "all terrain" oral poetry, and developed the concept of "Pulse Poetry," a raw art that is performed without backdrops, costumes, or music.
He won the Nantes Grand Slam in 2004 and in 2005 began a solo poetry act Tô seul. At the same time, Damien was making his way on stage, notably at the Fonderie, where he won the competition three times. They decided to create a journey about senses and sounds, AC ! en nos Âmes et Consciences, a second Pulse Poetry opus that toured in France and abroad for two years.
The scripts are performed alone or in a duo, most often in a rhythmic circulation, with echos, backing, chanting, and a human beat box.
Born in 1971, Antoine Faure, AKA Tô, practices Pulse Poetry. He uses language like a traditional drum, like an electronic loop, like a chant, to create rhythmic solos in words. He attempts to describe the complexity of the human spirit, the beauty of life, and also its acidity. For him, words are a means of achieving freedom. After being trained in acting, in Czech marionettes, percussion, and drums, and chant in a number of fusion groups, he staked his claim as a slam poet and has been performing since 2002. He has already shared his poetry and performances in Europe and the United States.
Born in 1973, Damien Noury is the manager, director, actor, and author. In all of his creations, for all of his performances, he works on the flow, this back-and-forth between the giver and receiver which conditions the performance, the dramaturgy, the writing – the breath that allows us communicate with one another.
After acting training, notably in the Rond-Point Theater, and performing several roles, he continues on stage while at the same time doing some teaching (drama techniques and slam workshops). Uppercut has led multiple workshops for high schools, middle schools, civic centers, youth centers, cultural centers, libraries…in Ile-de-France, in the provinces, and abroad.
Using work on the musicality and meaning of words means that each person must understand and develop his own relationship with language, in order put him or herself into play before and/or with others. This means relearning how to play with words, mastering them once again, in their earthly dimensions, reclaiming freedom to make it the sole ingredient of our own expression, as we search to better know ourselves and our world.
In the Press
We knew "Tô" by himself, Antoine Faure, and his machine gun-style, half-outraged, half-introspective delivery. Now Tô is with Damien Noury, a poet with the look of a young hellion who carries with him, behind his insolence, his own existential questions. They make up the Compagnie de l'Uppercut and perform slam duels with humming and human beat boxes. Woven with self-mockery and variations in intensity, which only give more punch to this "Pulse Poetry"—a seductive punch.
Poetry has its rhythm in the blood of the Compagnie de l'Uppercut, who hit home with their words. "The time for enunciation has come!" Damien Noury and Antoine Faure, AKA Tô, proclaim in unison. The time for slam has come. That oral poetry, at times spoken, at times chanted, but still rhythmic. Compagnie de l'Uppercut is made up of two "word" fighters who harvest words and bottle the rhymes. In one word as in a hundred: they came, they held forth. And they won over their public. Seated during their performances, the public rose as one to applaud them. These two poets have words under their skin. "I hold words as if I am striking flint, as if I am fanning the embers", drums Tô. By breathing, the two braggarts keep the sacred fire alive. Their poetry is firmly contemporary. That poetry speaks. Thus it lives.
Link to the artists' web site: http://acleblog.blogspot.com/
Link to audio clips: http://www.myspace.com/compagniedeluppercut
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