A tribute to the feminist artist
This Saturday in the middle of the afternoon, it was behind the town hall of the commune of St Eusèbe that a rather special event took place. Indeed, Alain Ballot, Mayor of the commune welcomed David Marti, President of the urban community of Le Creusot-Montceau and Mayor of Le Creusot, Sophie Clément, Vice-president of the department, the mayor of St Laurent d’Andenay, several members of the Association Femmes Solidaires and especially part of the family of Anne Sylvestre.
Indeed, Anne Sylvestre who died in 2020 at the age of 86, her real name Anne-Marie Beugras, is buried in St Eusèbe. It is a land that she knew well and that she appreciated. She came to see her grandparents there. Anne Sylvestre was a committed artist: author-composer-performer.
As Alain Ballot recalled, Anne Sylvestre was also the godmother of the Solidarity Women association which she initiated. Evelyne Rogowicz, from the association Femmes solidaires, had proposed to the Mayor to give the name of Anne Sylvestre to a street, place for example in St Eusèbe. And it is finally the library was baptized this Saturday afternoon with the name of the artist.
“I am sure that from the village [où l’artiste est enterrée], Anne Sylvestre will have a benevolent look at her library. he concluded before giving the floor to Evelyne Rogowicz.
A committed feminist artist
Then it’s Evelyne Rogowicz’s turn to speak. One of the daughters of the artist, present, will not speak in public.
Moved, the representative of Femmes solidaires recalls the career of the artist. Anne Sylvestre made her debut in 1957, at the cabaret La Colombe, on the same stage as Jean Ferrat. She was considered an immense artist, praised by Georges Brassens in her early days and Bobby Lapointe. She equaled Brassens, Brel, Barbara and Ferré.
And to explain: “The literary quality of his texts is highly recognized. 11 universities include his texts in their programs, including 7 abroad for the teaching of French or comparative literature.
With her 17 volumes of fabulettes, Anne Sylvestre feeds the dreams and imagination of children. She awakens their artistic appetites, creates melodies so that children can memorize a language that is within their reach. His fabulettes have marked generations of children, adults today. “.
And that’s not all because it must be made clear that the artist writes her texts, composes her melodies, which for Evelyne Rogowicz “is already a feminist claim that did not bear the name. In her songs, she draws portraits of women who take their destiny into their own hands. Her career as a woman and mother was already a feminist fight”.
The artist has written more than 400 songs, signing feminist texts, children’s stories, thus bringing together all generations.
She had become the godmother of the Solidarity Women movement.
Evelyne Rogowicz says: “I had the great honor of meeting her at a national Women in Solidarity meeting in Paris and during various congresses. It was she who approached me the first time, when she found out that I was from Saône-et-Loire. She then told me about her stays with her grandparents in Saint Eusèbe and the wonderful memories she had of them. This land of Saint-Eusèbe, where she said to recharge her batteries when she remembered the wonderful times spent here.
It took her tenacity to impose her texts, because in the 60s and 70s, a woman could not be a singer-songwriter. »
The author was also anticlerical, antimilitarist (against the war in Algeria). She defended the environmental cause, rose up against racism and mobilized for the freedom of women.
And to conclude: “The feminist and free artist was far from being just a singer of musical tales for children. Today we lost a poet, a performer, a feminist. His works are undeniably rich and this library can be proud to bear the name of such a beautiful person”.
Note: this is the first library to bear the artist’s name.
After reading a few lines written by the author, Evelyne Rogowicz offered a book by the author on behalf of Femmes solidaires to the library and a second book for herself.
In addition, the association publishes the feminist magazine Clara magazine every two months, accessible by subscription.
His family took over
Philomène is one of Anne Sylvestre’s two daughters. She was present this Saturday afternoon on the occasion of the laying of the plaque on the pediment of the library of St Eusèbe. She was also accompanied by cousins.
With her sister Alice and her daughter, Clémence, they continue the work of Anne Sylvestre. They now manage BC Musique, a company created by Anne Sylvestre, a means of continuing to bring to life the work which she describes as a “big heritage”.
And the task is unusual since Philomène is not in her original profession. She was notably a graphic designer and today in pottery. Burgundian, she lives near Tonnerre in Yonne.
Of her mother, she will say that she was a mother “with a big heart, who let us do what we wanted. We didn’t do too much nonsense. She was listening. It was a mixture of Maman and Sylvestre. She was both. She was writing. We listened to the songs. When we were little, she tested the fabulettes. »
And to remember: “I was two years old, I was going to the show. When she was on stage, it was Anne Sylvestre. But we never took advantage of his notoriety. It didn’t come to mind. We did not realize his notoriety. We realize this more since his death. “.
And the next generation could well be assured, since Clémence, Philomène’s daughter sings in a rock, French pop style under the pseudonym Mèche. Like her grandmother, she is committed and writes very committed texts. She was also very close to her grandmother. “She followed the Sylvester lineage by modernizing it” believes Philomène.
And to conclude: “Feminism, I was born with it. We know that it is important that this continues”.
The artist Anne Sylvestre rests in St Eusèbe and is now honored on the pediment of the town library which now bears her name.