If he is nicknamed “the pianist of French rap”, this affinity does not necessarily mean on recording. But when you see Sofiane Pamart in concert, you immediately understand the link he establishes between the classic and the hip-hop style.
The Maison symphonique on Thursday evening was like a refuge. Sheltered from thunderstorms and anything else from the outside world, we could be absorbed in the comforting bubble that Pamart shaped, note by note, during his superb performance.
The audience was more varied than ever. Clean clothes or loose t-shirts. Polished shoes or colored Nike shoes. Young and old, many French, but not only, while the Quebec public is also beginning to discover it.
As for the composer and pianist Sofiane Pamart, he arrived on stage wearing a blue and white kimono, a glossy black hat and sunglasses. Chain around his neck, rings on his fingers, he has lived up to his reputation as a classical musician with the look of a rapper.
Quiet but passionate
It’s all in the attitude of the pianist from Lille. The notes he plays sometimes cause him to nod his head and sway his body like a pop song.
He has the elegance of his compositions, but also this completely relaxed side, which helps to make his work even more accessible.
When his second piece ends, he closes it with two chords that he sends us in a sweeping swing of his arms. A dazzling finale, which suggests what’s to come: the pieces are cinematographic, sometimes light, sometimes dramatic, but the delivery is always the same, imbued with a sincere passion and a unique style.
His fingering is light, but sharp and clean. The notes roll with precision to our ears. Whether he wants to lead us into a magical and enchanted world, into a more modern context or into a melancholic universe, he does so with seductive ease.
Sofiane Pamart did not address a single word to her audience. The Frenchman sticks to the music.
He threw many smiles at all those who had come to listen to him, we felt his gaze (behind his smoked glasses) often directing towards the audience. When the crowd cheered him in the middle of the concert, he stood up and waved at her, looking amazed at the moment before him. This first presence in Montreal, his second on Quebec soil, was crowned with success. Almost all the seats were taken at the Maison symphonique.
The musician filled his hour and a quarter on stage with this theatrical and enveloping neoclassical music rather than words. And that was enough. After no less than four ovations, the crowd finally threw suggestions at him, which led to an interpretation of winner Mistral, nice finish. There is no doubt that the spectators, of all ages and all styles, were touched and amazed.