Mythimedia - Greek Myth in Today's Culture
About Mythimedia




MythiMedia // Music // The mystery of the instant

The mystery of the instant by Issam Krimi, translated by Elisabetta Zoni

The instant has its own mysteries. As the only experience of reality, which the past and the future are unable to offer, it questions me. My readings, therefore, are not motivated by a search for roots, nor by a will to define a hypothetical tomorrow, but rather by an in-depth exploration of these celebrated mysteries.

Literary or artistic encounters then offer themselves as chances of opening oneself to thoughts and poems. So my curiosity moves freely with the passing of time, but is limited to the look I cast on the world, to my concerns and my inner convictions and doubts.

That is why my encounter with Greek mythology was so fascinating. It was not immediate. I found it scattered here and there in several of my readings. There was always a poem, an anecdote, a comparison of an event with it, to illustrate the dramatic motive of a short story or the poetry of a situation.

It is, therefore, this redundancy that appealed to me. For every evocation of a myth was relevant, and carried that very specific quality of recounting the world, both in its real essence and as a project of imagination. In myths, therefore, I can identify a poetic strength, which is not linked to a past time, but rather to a true work of intelligence and sensitivity.

Furthermore, mythology is built with time. Tale after tale, poem after poem, and even painting after painting, sculpture after sculpture, etc... It is a seductive poetic transmission. It is deeply moving, it questions everyone, it can be shared as well as compared. And, unlike a religion where just one book counts and the interpretations of some are the restricted chances of invention, mythology suggests a project of the imagination that does not deny reality, and invites you to enter a creative world where you can find plenty of writers and artists.

When I read Ovid’s « Metamorphoses », and then jump to « Ulysses » by James Joyce, I am aware of the thousands of years that separate these masterpieces. However, beyond their common mythological reference, they reveal a project for the writing of the world, where form is wrought and poetry pregnant with meaning. A project in their own respective ages, where the ambition to tell the world, to question it, and to unveil its complexities and evidences echoes their own instant, as well as someone else’s. Of this instant, no one knows at what time it happens.

My music is instrumental. This is not a mere chance, but a choice. Although I would not rule out the possibility of singing one day, the play of sounds without that of words remains the one thing that touches my innermost. Nevertheless, I never write without including literary references, and I have never wanted to leave a single piece of mine untitled.

Greek mythology thus nourishes my artistic concerns, mixes with my thoughts, questions them, enriches them or ridicules them. When writing a piece like « Les Bacchantes », I did not have any choice but to clearly refer to them. It was reflection of the most simplistic kind on the desire to create a piece – and its poetic vision oscillated between wine, women, real or unreal pleasure, play and excess, etc... On a formal level, the composition, written for several voices grouped into the same piece, corresponds to the original motivations of this artistic project.

Personally, I find it very difficult to go further in the explanation of such an influence. For I would attempt with words what I wanted to do exclusively with sounds. The title is a finished product, music is its continuity and, I hope, also its depth.

The poetics of sounds is something very close to me, and it is the only one I understand. The power that the influence of Greek mythology has had on me has to do with the “I-Know-Not-What” that spontaneously arises like a self-evident question, for which the artist tries to find the answers, or pose further questions.

I find it easiest to evoke my pieces when I put them in the framework of a musicological analysis (form, timbre, sound, scales, rhythmic patterns...), less close to my literary references or to my reasons for creating, which my reserve forbids me to talk about. In «The Business of Living», Cesare Pavese suggests that reality will always be greater than imagination. This idea often accompanies me. Comparing it with the fascinating project of Greek mythology, I have come to realize that this path either leads nowhere or is constantly subject to be metamorphosized, as long as time exists.

To me, it seems impossible that some day mythology could cease at all to influence artists or writers. But I also hope that a new mythology will take shape.

Thus « the Muses », « amusing oneself » and « music », three words that clearly display a common root, are actually, according to mythology, a charming invitation to play between silences, and to question the mystery of the instant.

I have chosen to accept this invitation.


1) Audio. Les Bacchantes , by Issam Krimi, from the album Eglogues 3.

Performed by the Issam Krimi Trio (Alban Darche, alto sax/ Issam Krimi, synth & compositions/ Sébastien Brun, drums).

2) Photo. Marilyn reads Ulysses, by Eve Arnold.

Marylin reads Ulysses

When she discovered this photo of icon Marilyn Monroe reading James Joyce’s « Ulysses », photographer Eve Arnold did a plate for me, with a good deal of mischief. A true reflection on myth


University of Bologna - Ravenna Campus
George Mason University