Our beloved friend, René Farabet, died in Paris on Tuesday afternoon with the love of his life, Kaye Mortley, at his side. He had been gravely ill for a long time and had borne the trials it brought him with grace, courage and determination.
As the first French delegate at the inaugural International Features Conference in 1975, he was one of a small band of people who came together from all over Europe and further afield to make common cause for our genre and he stayed in our midst for ever. You will remember him: tall, elegant, the shock of white hair, the expressive, mobile face. He would move silently around the room, saying very little but always listening most intently and, until recently, always there.
René was our hero. He was a man of great brilliance: a radiant intellect, a philosopher, a sublime feature maker who, through his decades of work in L’Atelier de Création Radiophonique at France Culture, influenced an entire generation of international feature makers and, with his magic, bent how we apprehend and understand sound. His work and legacy is, quite simply, the gold standard of what we do.
But this is not an obituary. René was our friend who we loved and, with his death, our tectonic plates have shifted. Here, words fail. We grieve his absence and our hearts go out to Kaye with all our sympathy at this most difficult time.
May his memory be bound forever in the knot of life.
thoughts (via Facebook) on “René Farabet: In Memoriam”
translation by Edwin Brys
His smile, his gift to listen to others, his own , warm voice, his sense of humor, his sense of precision and his sharp spirit, we will miss all that.
But, the Atelier de Création Radiophonique ( ACR) that illuminated the programmation of France Culture during more than 30 years and had been conducted by René as a most subtle animator, will radiate for still a very long time. High above the daily gossip of the medium radio.
Born in the turmoil of May 68, l’Atelier de Création was the laboratory of a series of programmes , far more free and audacious than what had been produced so far by public radio.
Here were developped the most surprising radio forms : the creative radio documentary, the field recordings, the acoustical art ( ars acustica). Reaching a level of an audio art, focusing on the real world and real people, while designing and sculptering the power of sound.
By chance , Radio Grenouille (Marseille) recorded a conference of René Farabet in 2008.
In his excellent radio review , Syntone, Etienne Noiseaux reports : “ René Farabet talks about radio and sounds in a unique way. His language , rich in imagery and poetry, is probably the only way we can render the complexity of the radiophonic expression”.
Thanks to Marc Jacquin (Phonurgia Nova) and to Mehdi Ahoudig (Arte Radio) for sharing .