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Like’n share : “The water song” Erik Orsenna

The water song” Erik Orsenna of the French Academy – Collection of the Musée des Confluences of Lyon

“In seven-year-old Moussa’s family, the trade of luthier is handed down from father to son. Flutes, koras, tam-tam djembes, rain sticks and kass kass are produced and repaired with care from generation to generation. However, ngombi harps occupy a special place in the heart of Moussa’s grandfather, since it is they that have the power to make heard the words of the spirits of the Congo, this 4,700 km long, wide and chaotic river, the cause of many wrecks but above all a source of life and calm for the inhabitants of all the countries it crosses. More than all the other instruments, young Moussa watches over these harps with special care, since he wants to uphold the tradition while nourishing the hope of waking the old man’s ear and make the river’s music echo forever.”



This tale was written by Erik Orsenna in the framework of the collections “Récits d’Objets” (Narratives of objects) of the Musée des Confluences de Lyon, linked to the exhibition “We, the rivers”. Since 2014, the Musée des Confluences has asked authors to choose an object among the 3.5 million objects held by the museum, and weave a story around it.

This creation of narratives around objects is the editorial translation of an original approach taken by the Musée des Confluences, that of breaking down the barriers between disciplines to understand the complexity of the world, via an invitation to learn through curiosity and astonishment. In the image of the museum’s multidisciplinary collections, each of these narratives opens a path at the crossroads of the arts, disciplines and imaginations.


You can find this collection here: The literary collection “Récits d’objets” – Page 1 · Musée des Confluences (

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