Il deserto dei Tartari | literature mix

Coline Cornélis

Of old the swallow Progne left her home,
On swiftest pinion hung,
And far from cities to a wood did corne,
Where Philomela sung.
“How fares my sister,” Progne asked, in tears,
“After an absence of a thousand years?
As far as I remember, you’ve not been
Once since the Thracian age amongst us seen.
What’s your intention? tell me, pray—
Still in these gloomy groves to stay?”
“Why,” Philomela answered, “what so sweet?”

From: Jean de La Fontaine, “Philomela and Progne” (transl. Robert Thomson)

One can suffer from the weight of solitude but it’s also possible to find some comfort in it, like Philomela does in the fable of de la Fontaine. This last mixtape offers a musical oscillation between these two states.

Without fear of conflict of interest, Passa Porta has commissioned a series of mixtapes from its own production employee, Coline Cornélis, dj and illustrator in her actively spare time. She has created a small thematic collection of pieces bridging music and literature - written sounds, spoken rhythms, instrumental words and sung feelings.

This third and final episode — the first one here and second one can be found here — treats the theme of solitude and includes readings from Mort à crédit by Louis-Ferdinand Céline, whose first pages bring to life the vertigo of the most total emptiness, The Art of Joy by Goliarda Sapienza, a dazzling story conceived in a solitude gradually tamed and cherished by the author, the magnificent Il deserto dei Tartari (The Tartar Steppe) by Dino Buzzati, a story of solitary days, of a destiny without purpose and of a life that passes — or as François Mitterrand once said : “[the story] of what a man can conquer over himself when he is forced to stand before himself, but also before a landscape, that of his life” and finally “Alleen is een kamer” by Stijn Vranken, a poem from his collection Vlees mij! which is like life itself: a DIY piece made of loneliness, nonsense, gravity and desire.


Mort à crédit - Louis-Ferdinand Céline, read by Fabrice Luchini
Bed - Yosuke Tokunaga
Alleen is een kamer - Stijn Vranken, read by Magali Bosmans
Manos - Vanessa Amara
Cosmos - Jeph Vanger
Osoi - Yosuke Fujita
Second Mistake - AYYA
and so I come to isolation - Moses Sumney and Taiye Selasi
Quiet Pillage - 23 Skidoo
Raindrops from Heaven - Gareth Williams & Mary Currie
L'arte della gioia - Goliarda Sapienza, read by Camilla Lopez
The Word II - Shigeo Sekito

Cover © Coline Cornélis

Coline Cornélis