This is one of the songs she had sent me: Wawa
This is a special post dedicated to a dear friend: Lizzy Mercier Descloux
Lizzy Mercier Descloux was born in 1956 in Les Halles, in the center of Paris. After some time at The Beaux Arts, she left for New York in 1975, where she contributed in the creation of the French magazine “Rock News” with Michel Esteban, and in so doing, became part of the New York’s underground scene. It was the beginning of a long love story with New York. She published a collection of poems and photographs, “Desiderata”, prefaced and illustrated by her friend Patti Smith, with contributions by Richard Hell. In 1976, she decided to move to New York. She bought a Fender Jazzmaster guitar and began the rounds of the Soho galleries and Lower East side clubs in duo. In 1978 under the name of Rosa Yemen, she recorded a first six titles LP, on the now cult label, ZE Records, launched by Michael Zilkha and Michel Esteban.
She became involved in the birth of the City’s “New Cinema” acting in a number of short films including Amos Poe’s “Blank Generation”. She also wrote an ode to Andreas Baader for the music of Diego Cortez’ film “Grutzy Elvis”. In 1979, she released her first album ?Press Color” recorded in New York, on ZE Records. It was at this time that she met Jean Michel Basquiat, in whom she found a kindred spirit. In 1981, she recorded her second album “Mambo Nassau”, at Compass Point Studio in Nassau, Bahamas.
It was to be the start of a deep relationship with Africa. In 1982 she went on a promo tour in Asia, via Bangkok, Hong Kong, Macao, Seoul and Japan. Back to Paris where she signed two Singles with CBS: “Mister Soweto /Don’t you try to stop me”, and her first in French: “Maita /Les Baisers d’amants”. In 1983 she set off for Africa on the tracks of Rimbaud. She went, via Ethiopia, all the way to South Africa which was in full apartheid. Here she recorded the album : “Mais o? sont pass?es les gazelles”. Back to New York, she acted in a short film by Seth Tillett with Arto Linsay. In 1984 she made a second trip to Africa, where she gave a concert at The Pelican, the largest undercover club of Soweto and she shot a music video of “Gazelles” which became the most unexpected hit, in France, of the summer of 84… The rock critics went mad and voted it “best rock album of the year” : “Bus d’acier 84″, trophy was presented to her by the previous winner, Alain Bashung…. She went back to New York, in September, to prepare her new album which she planned to record in New Orleans. Her big dream was to try to bring together South African musicians and Cajun/Zydeco on the same album. What she had forgotten was the power of the South African authorities who refused to give out visas to the musicians. In 1985 she left for Rio to record “One for The Soul”. Here she met Chet Baker at the RIO Jazz Festival who ended up playing on five tracks of her album. An album of the soul, for the soul. Lizzy, forever nomadic, spent the rest of the year in the warmth of Ceylon / Sri Lanka, and began the writing of her novel “Buenaventura”. 1986 back in Paris again. Then in London she recorded her last album “Suspense” with Mark Cunningham, the trumpet player in Mars. It was the first album not to involve her old partern in crime, Michel Esteban. Lizzy began painting again, but still contributed to various film score projects and she recorded an album in 1995 in the USA which was never released.
She then moved to the West Indies where she threw herself into her painting until she came back to France setting up base in Corsica at the beginning of the new Millennium. It was on her return from a visit to New York in April 2003 that she was diagnosed with Cancer. Lizzy died this month, in April 2004, right by the sea in the tiny port of Saint Florent in Corsica where she had chosen to end her days. Her ashes, according to her wishes, were scattered at sea, her second home. Hard to believe as it is, two dolphins appeared near the boat and accompanied her ashes, mingled with the petals of wild flower, far out to sea, as far as where the dividing currents part ways to Spain and Italy. She rarely dropped anchor in life and now, at last, she is sailing free forever. “Pourquoi vivre ? terre, quand le reste du ciel s’ultramarine et rien ne sert ? rien sauf le d?sir”. Cape Desire. LMD “Why live down on earth when the sky is so vast and so blue and all is pointless but desire”. Cape Desire. LMD
Lizzy was my spiritual mother and dear dear friend.The wisest person I have known. Few years ago she had sent me a postcard saying she was dying of cancer. We spoke over the phone, mostly crying, both of us. Then I couldn’t contact her anymore, couldn’t face saying goodbye, the desease and death. I feel guilty about that and think about her all the time, the fact I couldn’t say to her everything I wanted, without saying proper goodbye. This is my goodbye to you, Dear Lizzy. Rest in piece. I hope you are surrounded by wise creative souls like yourself. Kisses…