‘Shanghai China’, it says just above the small keys. As small as this red toy piano is, as majestic is it’s sound. When I close my eyes and listen to the short theme that Jeanmarie always plays on it at the beginning of his show, it offers me comfort and at the same time the promise of adventure. I invite you to listen to the tune below, close your eyes and check what it does to you:
This tiny piano and theme song were the main source of inspiration for Olivier Milchberg and his talented musician friends Sofia Miguélez & Justin Wilman to create the music for The Dwarf in China. The music they made exceeded my highest expectations. The first time I heard it, I was so impressed that I feared the film was never going to be as good as the music.
I’m amazed by how a Chinese toy piano was the inspiration for a theme song of a theater performance in Europe, that eventually became the foundation for the music of a film about this same performance taking place in China. I love to think that this has always been the purpose of this little piano, but to be fair I’m a hopeless romantic.
|Pictures of the piano and Jeanmarie playing it by Hans van Eijsden and Marion Scalongne
But not only China, the piano, the performance and the film have an intricate relationship. Olivier became the producer of the music for a film about a man that changed his life. I’m very honored and extremely grateful that Olivier agreed to compose and produce the music for the film. Read the guest blog below by Olivier to find out how he met Jeanmarie:
Guest Blog Olivier Milchberg
I met Jean Marie Bevort more then twenty years ago. He was living next to the village of Eourres (France) when I moved there. We didn’t know each other well, but I felt from the beginning that we were from the same artist family. I watched his show “Fratelli Fiasco” for the first time somewhere in France in 1990!
Then, Jean Marie started the creation of his new performance “The Dwarf”, and at every step, he would test it in front of the people of the village. I can truly say I was a witness of the birth of the Dwarf and I’ve been following his growth during all these years. I’m amazed by the persistence of Jean Marie, working day after day, year after year, on tiny details, never ceasing to improve his act, with his imagination and his body.
In 2007 I made a tour with him as an assistant, helping him setting up the decor of the show, driving through Holland and Belgium…That time was a rough time for me personally and professionally, I had the feeling I was losing everything. I accepted to work with Jean Marie just to do something different to step out of my depression.
I remember the beginning of the tour: waking up very early and working hard everyday was not so easy, and Jean Marie was stressed and very demanding… We got to know each other much better and it confirmed the strength of our friendship.
|Jeanmarie & Olivier in Macau, China.
Then something very important happened to me.
Jean Marie was so involved in his performance that he was creating an alchemy, a fascination on his public. I was playing the barrel organ in front of hundreds of children day after day, while Jean Marie was performing, and I started to feel something changing deep inside myself. I realized soon that receiving the energy of children’s laughs had a big impact on me. I ended the tour transformed, nourished and full of new energy.
When I came back home, I noticed that I was hired by Cirque du Soleil as a musician for a new show in Macau, China, which was a new start in my life.
|Olivier Milchberg in action
Since a few years I help Jean Marie with the music of his show, arranging and composing for the barrel organ. I love this collaboration. Today, I’m back from China… and I’m very excited to have produced the music for “The Dwarf in China”!
Check out one of the beautiful songs he composed for the movie right here: The Gypsy Dwarf