• Saturday, September 24, 2005
    2:30 pm
  • Sunday, September 25, 2005
    2:30 pm

Presented by Productions SuperMusique (PSM).

  • In person
Quai King Edward – Quais du Vieux-Port de Montréal
rue de la Commune (angle Saint-Laurent)
métro Champ-de-Mars
Part of Les Escales Improbables de Montréal event

A vast territory explored by a group of 12 skilled player-improvisers from the white water of the Montréal musique actuelle scene

Canot-camping is a group concert-trip in which the music alternates between written themes, background music, and moments of complete improvisation. It is a real musical adventure in which theatricality is not excludedóit depicts the various aspects of the trip. First, there is the setting (bush, river, rapids, and lakes); then the states of mind (fear and danger); the parts of the day (sunrise, sunset, and constellations); the elements and difficulties (rain, wind, and bugs); and finally the camping itself (setting up, the fire, the swim, and portages). Each setting and each moment contains its own distinctive features, obstacles, richness, its “things to do” and its “things to know.” The journey unfolds in complete freedom from one region to the next, and no expedition explores the entire territory; each trip and the time spent in each region are all different: they depend on the weatheróand the mood of the leader!

In Canot-camping, Jean Derome presents us with an astounding and explosive concert-trip that has been inspired by experiences the composer has had while practising his favourite sport. Expéditions 7 et 8 - which take the form of a musical work for twelve canoe improvisers - describe all sorts of adventures that follow upon each other in the most surprising ways. Canot-camping is like a map that offers the possibility of a number of different routes.

Approached with a playful spirit, this voyage demands that the players be constantly ready for anything, much as if they were descending rapids. With Jean Derome marking the tempo with instructions to the musicians that are based on gestures inspired by both sign language and signals used in improvisation (more than sixty in all), this concert-trip is unique in the way that it steers the spectators through a world that is at once both known and unknown, captivating them with some very unusual group dynamics. It is not just the musicians who experience the expedition, the listeners are along for the trip as well. Everyone climb in!

Canot-camping was written with specific performers in mind. For Jean Derome, it is difficult and even inappropriate to write for a list of instruments without any context, so he composed Canot-camping for twelve people rather than for twelve instruments. Jean Derome is above all interested in the personality of the artist and his or her playing. For him, “mprovisers can just as well decide to take apart their instruments or blow into the wrong end. The work of the composer is to succeed in writing a coherent and recognizable piece without knowing exactly what the musicians will do! You have to be prepared for an entire range of unexpected sounds.”

So Jean Derome works with the musicians by allowing them to develop, through improvisation, precise instructions. He hands out the roles to each player and often proceeds by superimposing layers that are at the same time independent and coordinated. No one musician represents a narrative character as such; all unite to in order to allow the listener-paddler to experience a genuine sound adventure.

Canot-camping, expédition 1 was premiered as part of Une exposition de musique at the Théâtre La Chapelle (Montréal, 2000), Expédition 2 at the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville (May 2000), and Expédition 3 at the Ottawa Jazz Festival (July 2000). Expédition 4 - is available on cd:

In the press

En bref - Escale artistique au Vieux-Port

Le Devoir, September 23, 2005

Demain et dimanche, la deuxième édition des Escales improbables prend d’assaut le quai King Edward du Vieux-Port de Montréal.

L’événement éclectique conjugue cette année autant de disciplines diverses que le théâtre de marionnettes, le chant lyrique, le cinéma et surtout la musique. Des musiciens-performeurs interprètent des œuvres du compositeur Michel Smith à partir de machines-instruments ambulants. Nicolas Brault fait tomber des baleines du ciel dans un film-conte animé. Jean Derome et SuperMusique proposent une expédition de canot-camping allégorique le long d’une rivière imaginaire. Les côtes gaspésienne et italienne se croisent dans Cargo, théâtre d’image et de marionnettes. On découvre ces performances extravagantes et audacieuses en déambulant au bord du fleuve, comme une invitation au voyage.