Lizzy Mercier Descloux


Lizzy Mercier was born in december 1956 and raise 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 the city that never sleeps. In 1976, she decided to move permanently 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 1977 she published a collection of poems and photographs, « Desiderata », prefaced and illustrated by her friend Patti Smith, with contributions by Richard Hell. (Michel Esteban Editeur).

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 on ZE Records, « Press Color » recorded at Blank Tapes Studios, New York. 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 distributed by 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 Arthur Rimbaud. She went, via Ethiopia, all the way to South Africa which was in still under full apartheid. Here she recorded the album : « Zulu Rock » with against all odds the french hit single "Mais ou sont passees 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 french rock critics went mad and voted i » Zulu Rock » « 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 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.

Disapointed, 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 released album to date « Suspense » with Mark Cunningham, the trumpet player iof the No wave N.Y band Mars. It was the first album not to involve her old partern in crime, Michel Esteban !

Lizzy starded 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, 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 désir ». 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


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