French musician of Turkish parentage, Ghédalia Tazartès is an uncompromising artist who defies categorization. His public appearances remain exceptional events as he rarely performs in concerts or releases albums. Ghédalia Tazartès is a nomad. He wanders through music from chant to rhythm, from one voice to another. He paves the way for the electric and the vocal paths, between the muezzin psalmody and the screaming of a rocker. He traces vague landscapes where the mitre of the white clown, the plumes of the sorcerer, the helmet of a cop and Parisian anhydride collide into polyphonic ceremonies.


Ghédalia Tazartès does not have a personal computer nor is he on email. If he did he would correct a few “facts” about himself. “I ask friends to do it for me, but they tell me it is up to the person who’s written the article.” Several things bother him. “I have never been Turkish in my life. – he says, – I would not mind, but it is simply not the case.” His alleged Turkish origins seem to result from an incorrect reading of historical and geographical coordinates. “Both my parents were from Thessaloniki, which, at the time, was under the Ottoman Empire, and predominantly Jewish. They also spoke Ladino, a Judeo Espagnole language”. Ghédalia himself was born in Paris where he still lives in the Bastille area, but he sealed his reputation as a musical nomad by exploring the outer reaches of music. A self taught musician, he seems to have anticipated Werner Herzog’s advise to aspiring film-makers not to bother with traditional academic training. Rather, Herzog suggested, they should make a journey alone, on foot, for five thousand kilometres, from Madrid to Kiev. This journey, Herzog claimed, would teach them the essential nature of cinema. When Ghédalia Tazartès embarked on a long walk from Paris to Istanbul he was still to find his musical footing.


The trip also earned him the respect of his father with whom he had at times a strained relationship. “He would ask me about girlfriends and if I was going to settle down, so I just told him I was gay, but he wouldn’t believe me.” Before this walk, Tazartès had the impression his father loved him merely because he was his son, not because of who he was. There followed a number of years as a factory worker at General Motors before Tazartès decided to pursue a musical career. “At the time, I was doing something that I didn’t even call music, that for me was like painting.” With such a statement, Tazartès is not trying to give substance to his work, by calling into play other artistic practices, but rather he is making a structural point. Pasolini, for instance, when discussing his films, considered his figurative vision of reality to have more of a painterly, rather than filmic, origin. All fine arts references within his films, were internal stylistic decisions, and not simply accidents or reproductions. The case of the alleged Mantegna quote in Mamma Roma is emblematic. “It is not enough to share a similar framing angle to indicate a direct quote”, Pasolini insisted in Le Belle Bandiere a collection of his writings for the magazine Vie Nuove. He strenuously denied that the shot of Ettore lying on his hospital bed at the end of the film was taken from Mantegna’s famous Dead Christ painting. If anything, the highly contrasted chiaroscuro recalled painters active several decades before Mantegna. Pasolini himself invoked the absurd and exquisite mix of Masaccio and Caravaggio. In a not too dissimilar way, Ghédalia Tazartès explores the relationship between content and form albeit in an exquisite and absurd mix of African and Pop art. ( Source: )