A lot of people love their cats. But few have the kind of artistic pull to convince more than a dozen A-list rock and pop stars to write original songs in honor of a beloved feline friend who has passed on to that great scratching post in the sky. After French conceptual artist Sophie Calle lost her cat Souris in 2014, her friend, American avant rock singer Laurie Anderson, composed a song to honor the kitty, which has resulted in a three-vinyl, 39-track tribute album called Souris Calle.
Calle explained to the Wall Street Journal that the project slowly came together thanks to some chance run-ins with a number of the bold-name contributors, which include Bono, former R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe, Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker, The National, Anderson, composer Jean-Michel Jarre, the Strokes’ Fabrizio Moretti, Pharrell and Fischer-Spooner’s Casey Spooner. While 10 of the contributors knew Souris personally, the rest received a photo of the cat with a description and a four-minute video showing Calle and Souris’ life together to get a sense of the cat’s habits.
The songs are part of Calle’s new show in Paris, which opened on Saturday (Oct. 13) at the Galerie Perrotin and, according to Artnet, “many contributors chose to compose pieces specifically about Souris, while others wrote songs about cats in general and some focused on the broader themes fo grief, loss and absence.” Among the contributions are a voicemail poem from Bono (“A ghost, though invisible/ Still is like a place your sight can knock on/ Echoing/ But here within this thick black pelt/ Your strongest gaze will be absorbed and utterly disappear”), a collection of cat purrs, meows and whispered love notes to felines over gently strummed acoustic guitars from Cocker (“A Cat Called Souris”), electronic warbles from French producer Mirwais (“Souris (Arcane 13)”), a robotic tone poem from Anderson (“A Cat Named Mouse”), a marimba and synth-spiced instrumental from Pharrell (“A Cat Named Souris”), Stipe’s mournful pop track spiked with bells and his yearning vocalizations (“Souris nocturne”) and a dark acoustic rock homage from The National (“Le violon blanc de Monsieur Souris”).
Listen to the album below and check out some images of the show.
L’album hommage à Souris Calle, le chat de Sophie Calle: disponible partout pour écoute. Sinon version vinyle sur le site de @galerieperrotin / en ce moment une super expo à Paris chez Perrotin. Écoutez, vous allez y trouver de très belles chansons… #sophiecalle #souriscalle #art #artcontemporain #contemporaryart #chanson #music #perrotin @albindelasimone @jeannecherhal @florentmarchetofficiel @clarikaofficiel @juliettearmanet @loudoillon @benjamin_biolay_ @brigittedefrance
“Sophie Calle is a first-person artist. In her works she directs herself, unreservedly, using direct language to recount stories she has lived, with impressive attention to detail. She turns onlookers into accomplices to her privacy and leaves them no way out.” – Alfred Pacquement Plunge into the world of Sophie Calle and discover her ongoing show “Two projects: Parce que & Souris Calle” Currently on view @galerieperrotin until December 22nd! #metropolitainartparis #sophiecalle #perrotin #exhibition #artist #artexhibition #artgallery #art #contemporaryart