Musicians’ Diary


Our thoughts, our creative steps, our everyday questioning about being musicians, emerging ideas & projects… and basically anything we want to share !

Musicians' Diary

About Breton language


We get asked quite often WHY we chose to sing Breton songs in the Breton language (indeed, some traditional songs from Brittany are also in French).

Actually, we never chose, it just happened that our music’ lyrics are in Breton. Of course, we could explain why we prefer songs in Breton, because of the rhythm of the language, maybe also because of the particular sounds, because of the stories, but explanations came out afterwards.

teach yourself breton language books
Don’t give up…

The question should maybe then be “why do you KEEP singing in Breton when such a few amount of people may be able to understand you?”. This issue is for sure a meaningful one for us. None of us was brought up in Breton, in my case, because my family is not from Brittany, in Yann’s case, just like… more than probably 99% of people that are our age. In a survey made in 1997, 0.2% of people aged from 15 till 19 were able to speak Breton (source) . People our age.

We have both a good knowledge of Breton, from self study, from paying attention to songs, to road signs, from trying to speak to old people, from night classes… But anyone having learned any foreign language for a couple of years knows how hard it is to make it your language. Despite of that, we both strangely relate to that language as being our language. The one we’re emotionally connected with.

DSC_0260

We don’t sing in Breton to be understood. Nor to be heroic people trying to save their language. We sing in Breton because it is a part of us. We sing in Breton because it is what we like to do. But when we sing in Breton, deep in our heart, you’ll find sorrow, because we know that not many people will understand all the beauty behind the poetry, we know that no translation or explanation can replace it.

§ Simone

Advertisements
Musicians' Diary

4 Live tracks available on “Pay what you want”.


Starting a fresh new year is always the right time to :

  • start new things, and we’re already working on some new tunes and songs
  • look back toward what we did in the previous year.

And this how we thought that it was time to do something with some rather good quality recordings we had from our concert in Beirut last spring, so we put them on Bandcamp, and they’re available for download, all together or separately, you can listen to them before, decide to pay something for them or even get them for free, and please : feel free to share them around !

§ Simone

DIY Album, Musicians' Diary

Using loops on stage : Trying to find the right balance


1 Comment

As we use a computer with pre-recorded loops on stage (this post), we realised that we needed (and that we still need !) to find the right balance between those two following extreme situations:

  • A : The computer only provides very simple loops such as a drone or a basic beat.
  • B : The computer provides the full set of missing instruments so that we play the songs as they can be heard from the album. B-statement in our minds is this :

I must say that when I had started loop programming, we were first very close to the A-statement. Later on, as I was thinking that my programming skills and experience were increasing, we got very close to the B-statement…

The kind of music we would like to play on stage is somewhere in-between. A-statement may not be sufficient since we are in most cases only two musicians on stage (Voice and stringed instrument, except when we have guests), whereas B gives the feeling that we are not really playing but that the laptop is playing for us. Some would call this “Karaoke” !

DSC_0257
Our laptop, footswitch and instruments

So, we’re going back to A, but not as close as in the beginning, loops mostly consisting in drones and light rhythms. We do hope we’re on the way to find the right balance !

[ yann ]

Musicians' Diary

How do we play on stage ?


2 Comments

For quite a long time, we had the idea of playing with electro loops on stage, but we didn’t really want to hire an extra musician for that. I know for ages that many guitarists use loop pedals. I think these devices are suitable when you want to record and overdub guitar loops. But we wanted to be also able to launch drum loops, drones and samples.

I found out that the right solution for that was an amazing software called Ableton Live. This software enables one to set up full arrangements and to launch them on stage. But my problem was how can I use my hands to trigger on stage while playing guitar or oud…?

Image
An Ableton Live set we use on stage.

The answer was that I had to use my feet of course ! Which means that I need a kind of footswitch. MIDI footswich ? Not even a MIDI port on my cheap soundcard. USB footswitch? I found out that what I was looking for didn’t really exists ! Then I found this interesting link:

https://forum.ableton.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=112242

That was the best solution ever ! To built my own USB footswitch myself using an old USB keyboard and the suitable footswitches. I found all the necessary components in a very in a rather fascinating area of Istanbul called Karaköy.

And I started to make it on my own…You can see the resulting system below :

Image
My home-made USB footswitch.
Image
My home-made USB footswitch.
Image
On-stage setup.

We did several concerts with this system, and sometimes with hardly any sound-check. We must say that it works perfectly !

[ yann ]

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: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/astrakan-project/id690326852?ls=1

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…

….….….

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

Musicians' Diary

World Music Wednesday: Astrakan Project


We were very happy to read a review about our music on Incognito’s blog here :

World Music Wednesday: Astrakan Project.

(even if you already know about us, take a few minutes to have a look around this very interesting music blog, there’s quite a couple of unusual and non-main-stream musics to discover there )

Of course, it’s always nice when someone takes time to listen to us, and give feedback. But also, it answered many questions we always wonder about. “Is it a problem if people don’t understand our language ?” “Is our music interesting enough so that it can interest people outside our home country ?” “How do people feel about it ?”

Any thoughts about that ?

Musicians' Diary

Clarinet in Kosovo


Live music places in Kosovo
Live music in Kosovo

A bar ? A hotel ? Nope, this is the kind of places we search for live music in Kosovo. Along road M2 between Pristine and Ferizai, you may find many of them, they sometimes have a sign “live music”.

Here’s a very short video, the sound is terrific, but it shall give you an idea of the place.

The clarinettist is Rexhe Baba, when we first met in 2007, we were really impressed by his style, his freedom to ignore the rules… and his craziness !

Such places, as far as we know, are opened at night everyday, without entrance fee, drinks are more expensive than in standard cafes but still affordable. They hire a couple of singers, at least 2, sometimes up to 5 or 6, that will perform one after each other with the same band. The band can be very “cheap” and consist of a single synthesizer player, but we look for places with at least 3 or 4 musicians, although, synthesizer is the base.

On the video, you can see a bank note (50 Euros !!!) hold with the clarinet, it’s a way to request a particular song and to dedicate it to someone. The singer is holding the piece of paper with the message and will read it between two songs. Of course, more famous musicians/singers will get more requests. At the end of the evening, the money is then divided between everyone on stage.

Musicians' Diary

On the Road(s)


1 Comment

We’ve been travelling back to Brittany during the last days, a great road-trip, a good and inspirational break before we jump back into the album – we have great hopes we can finish it and send it to the factory by mid-august.

In the meantime, here are some pics from our trip that we’re happy to share with you…

In Northern Greece, not very far from Kavala, we met an amazing lyra player.

Lyra Player Northern Greece
Playing at the Sunset

We generally speaking love Lyras, Yann was really pleased to give it a try.

Yann playing Lyra
Not quite easy as it looks…

We also travelled threw Kosovo…

Strange music Place in Kosovo
Somewhere in Kosovo

What’s this ? A live music place… of course we did some videos, give us a couple of days to pick up one and you’ll have an idea of the crazy sound from Kosovo.

We also searched for last CD’s releases in the Balkans, here is our favourite CD dealer from Priština’s market.

Music Shop in Pristina Market
Priština’s Market

And also in Montenegro, here in the small town of Berane.

Music Shop in Montenegro
We love Music Shops !
Music Shop in Montenegro
And to meet great people.

Thanks to her kindness we discovered Gusle, a traditional string instrument from Montenegro with a really amazing and deep sound. And… it’s a single string instrument! We’ll try to find some samples very soon.