Author: Astrakan Project

DIY Album

Who won ? Contest results…

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First of all, we really would like to say a big thank you to all that participated, and spread the word around. What we loved the most was to read about how you actually found the languages, some using the Internet, some dictionaries, or books, some asking friends or relatives.

We were thinking we’d prepare a fun video to announce the result, but (to keep it short) we had some technical issues. So starting with English, we also had Turkish (we’re based in Istanbul), then Breton (a Celtic language still spoken by a very few in the western part of France – in Brittany, and the language we use in our music), French, Portuguese (Simone’s family is from Portugal), German, and finally Dutch (we lived in Holland some years ago).

If you’re following us on facebook, you already got the results, if not then, among the correct answers…

Album contest

I asked an very innocent hand…

Album contest


To pick up one name :

Album contest

The lucky (happy?!) winner is from Brittany.

Album Songs and Lyrics

Pemp Bolot

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[lyrics, translation & facts for the opening song from our album >here<]

The opening of the album, Pemp Bolot (five bullets) is a composition from Yann with traditional lyrics. In Brittany, we have lyrics and tunes, and they’re in most of cases not connected to each other, indeed, you may pick up some lyrics and use almost any tune with it. There’s of course some rules regarding their geographic origin, but once you get it, it provides musicians a lot of freedom to use them.

pemp bolot - five bulets
five bulets…..

An Dezertour is quite popular among singers most probably because it has a very good inner rhythm. It’s one of the first songs Simone remembers having learned. Regarding the story, it may relate to the 19th century Napoleon’s wars, it may also be older but with late changes, the topic is quite a common one in French traditional music, even with the details regarding “the blue scarf to close my eyes” (see translation below) is to be found in French language versions.

The introduction was initially just an idea for a short sequence that Simone wanted to use for this video, she wanted something very ceremonial to go along with the sun dawn, and on which she could add kind of mystic voices.


Only a week before sending the album for manufacturing, we thought that it could be a nice introduction, both for this song and for the album.

Instruments : guitar, violin, darbuka, percussion sounds on introduction : davul samples.

Rythme : gavotte danse.

This slightly different version was recorded live in Beirut last spring.


Musicians' Diary

All about our studio album + fan Pictures

You can’t wait any longer to buy it? Direct link to the shop >here<

If your not so much in a hurry, have first a look at this wonderful colours !

album cover astrakan project XV
Nice, hey ?

Yes, it’s real… Hear by yourself

This first tune is called “tri martolod an oriant”, based on traditional tune and lyrics from Brittany, quite famous since the 70’s under the title “tri martolod yaouank” (3 young sailors, some facts and a translation >here<)

You liked it ?

Do you want to have it ? [we wished you’d think so !] go >here< (it will use PayPal), for 12€, and what do you get for that price ?

  • 9 tracks to listen any time & anywhere you want
  • in a nice packaging with nice colours and paintings
  • the immediate download of all the tracks so that you don’t need to wait for the delivery to enjoy the music
  • shipping included for any destination. [yes, any destination in the world !]

You’d prefer a digital only ?

Of course, it’s possible, one click >here<, price is 6€

  • 9 tracks from the album in any format you want (mp3, flak) in high quality
  • Nice single covers to give you a taste of every song and that will nicely be displayed on your player. (we created them all out of pictures from our travels, you can see them in this >galery<)

From iTunes ? 

Head over here:

bare espacement

You want to know how it was made before you make up your mind ? Hear some more music maybe ? How about a little promo video ?

The sample track is the “mouezhiou“, based on a traditional dance from the Vannes’ area (South of Brittany).

Want to buy it now ?

Some happy faces from people enjoying our music…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

bare espacement

Maybe, you can download some FREE tunes in the meantime :

Yep, 4 tunes recorded live, you can enter “zero” for the price and get them for immediate download, or name your price after you listened to them.

bare espacement

You want even more ? If not done yet, you can follow our thoughts during the recording on the blog section. Or connect…


Album Songs and Lyrics, DIY Album

The album’s out… today !

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Our album is now released !

You can buy it from here (it will use PayPal), for 12€, shipping included for any destination.

First tune is called “tri martolod an oriant” (3 young sailors, some facts and a translation here)

Promo Video & Contest

If you hadn’t yet seen, here’s a short video where we share some steps during the recording process. The sample track is the “mouezhiou“, based on a traditional dance from the Vannes’ area (South of Brittany).

If you watch carefully the video, you’ll see Yann holding a notebook with different languages statements. If you’re able to recognise those 6 languages, (appart from “the album is out” in English!) , enter the contest and get a chance to win your personal copy of the album ! If you’re following us either on FaceBook, on YouTube or here, you might already have some clues…They are all related to our personal journey, and we both can at least communicate in any of them.

Rules are very simple : (1) find the correct answer (2) share this video with your friends and let us know. Who knows? They also might like it too! (3) fill in your contact to enter the contest.

[ contest dead-line was 8th of October, and the winner was… ]

You want more ? If not done yet, you can follow our thoughts during the recording on the blog section.

DIY Album

All about money.

We setted up the release day for… the day after tomorrow, which means, within 2 days. In a way, we’ll be happy to be Sunday !

As we already mentioned, after long discussions, we decided to sell it for 12 euros (that’s about $15.50), including shipping costs… But what is “a” right price ?

The question is more complex than it looks at first sight. When we searched around the web, some advices were not to sell it for more than established artists. We’re not established artists. When we refer to French albums’ prices, it doesn’t seem to function that way, at least for physical CDs. Music produced by small labels tend to be much more expensive (too expensive? we’re talking about at least 20€ / $25) than mainstream records.

Where does the value of the music we play come from ? Is it about the value we think it has ? Is it about the value other people would give to it ?

show me the money - how much should we sell our diy album ?
Show me the money

We’re not planning to really earn any money directly from the sales, even if we hope our music would spread enough to get more venues. Still, we have to get at least a part of the money we invested to get it manufactured, and anyone can guess that for small quantities like ours, it gets the price per CD much higher. We’re far from talking about refunding the rest of the material, not mentioning any salary.

show me the money - how much should we sell our diy album ? 12

So far, we questioned as many people as we could about the price, and although we didn’t get any “that’s really too expensive for a self-produced album”. We could have chosen a “pay what you want” option. We could. Maybe we don’t feel yet confident enough in the value people would give to our music ? In a way we also consider that people are not only “buying” a CD from us, they’re supporting our project on a much longer term.

If you really think “that’s really too expensive”, let us know why…

§ Simone

Album Songs and Lyrics

Tri Martolod An Oriant


[lyrics, translation & facts for the 2nd song from our album >here<]

A version of this song became very popular since Alan Stivell sung it in the 70’s), and today many bands are still playing it, mostly under the name “tri martolod yaouank“. During a recording break, we watched a video from Kevin Camus playing it on the Irish bagpipes together with Nolwen Leroy.

tro martolod an oriant astrakan project single
. . . 3 boats . . .

While wondering about the origin of the song, that is, before Stivell’s version, we found a very nice and interesting version sung by an old woman (from whom unfortunately we don’t even know the name). We found that version so nice and delicate that we immediately started to work on it, and we arranged this tune very quickly.  The lyrics we’re using are a mixture of both versions.

In our version (you can hear it here or get a free mp3 if you sign-in for our newsletter here), extra beats take it away from the original rhythm that to our hear could well be a dance from the Breton coast(s), but we’re not really specialists about those facts… Yann got inspired for the rhythm by Balkan pop music (Albanian ?)

Instruments used : ‘ud, guitar, darbuka, bendir, violin, and a pack of Nescafé Gold (yes it’s true! you can see it yourself on this >video<)


DIY Album, Musicians' Diary

Our first sale ?

What ? Yes, of course the release will only be on the 30th. But, in the meantime we are testing the on-line BandCamp forms to order, together with the paypal system, checking how long it really takes us to get threw the all procedure, fixing the order notification, the automatic replies and so on. We are really new to this, so we really wanted to make sure ones the sales will be launched, we won’t have to come back to solve this kind of details. And ? So far it works perfectly !

Meanwhile, a little amount of albums have also been sent for promoting the album itself as well as to apply to some venues. This will also give us an idea about how long it really takes for one piece of CD to be shipped from Turkey to other countries.

USA = ABD in turkish for Amerika Birleşik Devletleri
USA = ABD in Turkish for Amerika Birleşik Devletleri

Since we are into form and data-bases, we also got a nice on-line form to sign in for our newsletter. If you sign-in you get a free mp3 from Tri Martolod an Oriant, you’ll get updates on the project, but also to special releases, to work in progress tunes, to promos & more. We’re repeating it again, not more than once a month. Pour les francophones, la version sera un peu “rallongée” pour reprendre des news développées au fil du blog en anglais. 

Last but not least, we decided to re-invest the benefit from our first sale into this artist. Sofia Talvik is Swedish, and she’s organizing herself her 2 years tour threw the US, called the Drivin’ & Dreaming tour. We were very impressed by her story that we discovered in this very interesting for CD Baby. And… of course we’d like to tour in the US !

That’s all for now, thank you for reading !

§ Simone

DIY Album, Sound & Video

2 weeks left…

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Only two weeks left before the actual release. We’ve almost made our mind to sell the album online via Bandcamp. It has many advantages, including that those following us rather via facebook will also be able to get it directly from there.

We’re right now preparing a fun promotional video, which will include a small contest

In the meantime, here’s a taste of what it will sound like :

It’s called “tri martolod an oriant”, based on traditional tune and lyrics from Brittany, quite famous under the title “tri martolod yaouank” (3 young sailors). Share it, comment it, give feedback…

DIY Album

To sell or not to sell ?

So, yes, things are on their way, which means :

  • all the CDs are now in our hands
  • we’re still waiting for our bank’s authorization to use PayPal so that we can start… well… selling this album !
  • we started to send our album to a couple of journalists that may write reviews about it

The PayPal part is indeed tricky, much more than we would have expected it. As we’re WordPress blog users, technically we shouldn’t be using it for commercial purposes. And technically we won’t really, since in French law, our album is produced by a non profit organisation (called association loi 1901), that we declared to the authorities. The main advantage is that we’re out of the scope of VAT, which makes it makes it more flexible and easy than a company. As long as there’s no financial benefit (and for now we don’t think there would be), we may “sell” some “products” to cover the expenses. Which is… exactly the case.

donate or sell ?

To go back to WordPress and PayPal, they’ll only consider it as a sell. And PayPal “pay” button isn’t compatible with the blog itself. Only a “donation” would be. So… we’re trying to brainstorm and think about something that could easily work… Any idea is welcome…

§ Simone

DIY Album

Album boxes – part 2 ?

We’re heading to Greece this morning, if you remember, we left half of our brand new albums there, because we thought splitting the boxes would make it easier to enter Turkey. And so far it did. We’ll be there for a couple of days, which will also be an opportunity to relax in this kind of places :

Nea Peramos - Trakia
Nea Peramos – Trakia

We’ll try to find some interesting music, last time we met a very good lyra player. And we’re also preparing a video for the album’s release, we already have a couple of ideas, we need to put them together.