Feb 27, 2024

Bérurier Noir | An exhibition at the BnF and two exclusive playlists!

From 27th February to 28th April 2024, the Bibliothèque national de France (BnF) will be hosting Dans les archives de FanXoa et mastO de Bérurier Noir, an exhibition dedicated to one of the 1980s’ leading French punk bands, Bérurier Noir (1983–1989, 2003–2006). With this display, the BnF aims to give pride of place to the very first archives from France’s punk movement to come into the hands of a public institution, thanks to the donations of two of the band’s members: FanXoa (a.k.a. Fanfan, born François Guillemot) and mastO (born Tomas Heuer).

Through roughly 100 items illustrating the career of the fiercely independent, socially conscious group – including notebooks, photos, videos, stage props, posters and fanzines – the exhibition offers visitors the chance to take a look back not only at the creation of the alternative rock scene in France but also at a joint adventure that wasn’t simply limited to “making music”.

About Bérurier Noir

Influenced by the punk wave that washed over France in the late 1970s – which the “homemade” outfits and puppet presented by the exhibition bear testament to – singer Fanfan and guitarist Loran (a.k.a. Laurent Katracazos, previously a guitarist in the band Guernica) founded Bérurier Noir in the squats of Paris’s 20th arrondissement in 1983. Sitting on the fringes of the music industry, the pair took charge of Bérurier Noir’s entire production line as well as its visual identity, before the aforementioned mastO joined the band as a saxophonist in 1985, having been a member of no-wave group Lucrate Milk from 1980 to 1983.

As a photographer on the side, mastO would also help out with creating the band’s visuals and promotional material, with the BnF’s exhibition revealing mock-ups of posters and covers for albums such as Abracadaboum ! and Nada 84, original drawings and the very first edition of the group’s official media outlet, the fanzine Le Mouv’ment d’la jeunesse.

After recording four albums as well as multiple singles and EPs, Bérurier Noir split up in 1989 but temporarily reformed for an exceptional series of concerts between 2003 and 2006. Then, following the terrorist attacks that took place in Paris in January 2015, the band wrote the track ‘Mourir à Paris’, which would eventually come out just a day after the 13th November attacks that same year.

Following the donation of the band’s archives to the BnF in 2021, the PIND (Punk Is Not Dead) research project – which delves into the history of the French punk scene – organised a conference on this very topic as well as on the “Bérus” themselves at France’s national library in March the following year, and now, just under two years later, it’s the turn of the BnF’s exhibition to give the widest possible audience the chance to check out Bérurier Noir’s archives. Entry to the exhibition will be free, while the display will also become accessible online via Gallica, the BnF’s digital library, in spring 2024.

Two exclusive playlists

To coincide with the event, three of the band’s members (Fanfan, mastO and Loran) as well as PariA from their record label – Archives de la Zone Mondiale – have created two exclusive playlists for both the BnF and What the France, with the first playlist offering up an eclectic mix of tunes not only by the pioneers of the French punk rock scene but also by those that the Bérus consider to be their direct successors, while the second playlist brings together the three band members’ and PariA’s favourite tracks from the Bérurier Noir back catalogue.

As a result, you’ll come across songs by Métal Urbain, Bulldozer, Camera Silens, Lucrate Milk, Guernica, Les Olivensteins, 84 Flesh, Metal Boys, Marie et les Garçons, Gasoline, Electric Callas, Parabellum, Oberkampf, La Souris Déglinguée, Washington Dead Cats, OTH, Heyoka, Dead Michel Simon, Les VRP, René Binamé, Molodoï, mastO, 1KUB ft. Les Ramoneurs de Menhirs, No Suicide Act, Los Tres Puntos, J’aurais voulu, Krav Boca, Trholz, Foune Curry, Litige, Zarbi Band, Keny Arkana, Casey, La Rumeur, Sexy Sushi, Mon Dragon, Mansfield.TYA, Kompromat, Ethnopaire, Oi Boys, King Kong Meuf, Poésie Zéro, Les Clébards, Dominique A and Boris Vian.

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