Trans Musicales 2023: the live report

Music news

From Dynamite Shakers to Sami Galbi, the Trans Musicales are still warming up the nights in Rennes on the occasion of their 45th edition.

An unmissable December event, the Trans Musicales have once again lit up the cold winter nights of Rennes, offering for its 45th edition a musical panel that is at once rock, urban, eccentric and psychedelic. With – always – this impertinence specific to its programming, original and irreverent.

No need to spend your savings to go to the other side of the world. If you get too impatient, all you need is a round trip to Rennes every year. At the beginning of December, the Trans Musicales vintage 2023 traveled to more than 35 countries and territories. From Senegal (with the piercing set of electric Ndox, close to screaming metal) to Ireland with the hybrid techno/rock of Chalk. A ticket also to Israel with the divine drummer and singer Roni Kaspi (spotted by double bassist Avishai Cohen) or Wales, thanks to Cerys Hafana on the masterful harp. Yes, there is no need to fear using too many pompous superlatives; Trans people, that’s it. Groups which, over five days of festivals, have so much to show the world: in twelve different locations for this 45th edition in front of more than 50,000 festival-goers, in a frenzy specific to the festival, self-qualified as“unifying spark of winter”.

Step 1: Freedom

Regulars know this atmosphere well. The sounds of the funfair every year on the Charles de Gaulle esplanade. Where families, churros and cotton candy in hand, rub shoulders with the most daring festival-goers. This Delirium bar – with a view of the rides – which welcomes the most curious between two concerts in the heart of the Liberté hall and its almost 6,000 seats. Free and worthy meeting of promising projects like this year, Dynamite Shakers, from the Rolling Stones (savagery and mischief included on the stage of the room) to the 2023 sauce. Champion, Rennes artist with post-punk nourished by pop stars . Touching on stage, disturbing in the studio. Then Our Lights, encouraging a fiery Vannes group on stage, ambitious in its autotuned electro/rock productions.

Step 2: The Expo Park

20 kilometers away, after a trip by the magic bus (the ultra-well-organized shuttle but which could have been called “the courtyard of miracles”), the place of all possibilities had not moved a bit. : the Expo Park. Nine halls magnified by techno or world music, the ear willingly and with unrestrained gluttony listening to the trap-raï of Sami Galbi (no wonder having already seen him alongside Johan Papaconstantino on posters ), biggest favorite of the festival. Later in the night, at the time when the bats dance, the Irish Chalk – Oscar-winning filmmakers – delighted noise rock fans, presenting their EP Conditions. Divinatory for lovers of big, wild, sometimes filthy garage guitars. Strolling from hall to hall, taking the time to listen to what they wear, is also to taste the group Bantu Spaceship – note, phrase specific to Trans Musicales – which mixes electro with traditional Zimbabwean pop , jit-jive, with rapid drum rhythms. A genre popularized before them by the Four Brothers or New Black Eagles.

Step 3: Walk around the Opera and the Free Area

After Zaho de Sagazan, the Aire Libre theater welcomed the Franco-Cameroonian with the unmistakable voice Yamé every evening. Shortly before becoming number one on the “Top Viral World” list on Spotify with his title Bécane, Yamé majestically connects pianos/voices rapped as sung to electro productions infused with traditional sounds. The Rennes Opera, an Italian-style vestige of the 19th century, the smallest opera house in the country with its 642 seats, hosted the producer Raül Refree for a daring but disturbing trip, called El espacio entre, a sensory journey that the Spanish musician, influenced by flamenco as well as electro, conceived as a live experience, tinged with baroque, free jazz and trance. Him turning from one side to the other between his piano and his guitar, as if possessed, her, the percussionist Nuria Andorrà at her side, playing with her instruments as if possessed.

This 45th edition proved that once again, the Trans Musicales will never have anything to envy of all the festivals in the country with its courageous programming, sometimes insolent but never too enterprising. The Charles de Gaulle esplanade now gives way only to the smells of churros and the sounds of attractions. One year remains for Jean-Louis Brossard, legendary co-founder of the festival, and his teams to travel the world in search of music that is often miraculous and never ordinary.

Find this live report on the 45th edition of the Trans Musicales de Rennes in WECB l’Hebdo n°142, available via our online store.


Written by

Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson is a dedicated writer and key contributor to the WECB website, Emerson College's student-run radio station. Passionate about music, radio communication, and journalism, Christopher pursues his craft with a blend of meticulous research and creative flair. His writings on the site cover an array of subjects, from music reviews and artist interviews to event updates and industry news. As an active member of the Emerson College community, Christopher is not only a writer but also an advocate for student involvement, using his work to foster increased engagement and enthusiasm within the school's radio and broadcasting culture. Through his consistent and high-quality outputs, Christopher Johnson helps shape the voice and identity of WECB, truly embodying its motto of being an inclusive, diverse, and enthusiastic music community.