Pics on Tour

Pictures from our concerts, from others concerts, from moments we want to share

Pics on Tour, Sound & Video

Brittany in Paris + How does Breton language sound like

‘Last week-end we had the chance to spend 4 days in Paris for “Fête de la Bretagne” celebrations, all happening in the borough n°XIV (XIV arrondissement as we say in French). This particular area of Paris is renown and famous for a major migration from Brittany from the end of the XIXth century on. It is actually in the West part of Paris, and surrounding the train station Montparnasse that connects with Breton cities and towns.

astrakan project fête de la bretagne Paris Mission Bretonne
Picture Camille Le Floch

Even nowadays, it does have a funny familiar Breton flavour, in some streets (rue du Montparnasse, rue d’Odessa) you’ll find loads of Crêperies (breton pancake restaurant) one next to each other, we never get that many at the same place in Brittany! La Mission Bretonne, founded in 1947, is at the heart of this community, and organises any sort of cultural events throughout the year, from concerts to exhibitions, music, danse, breton language classes, meetings, well, not to miss if you are around in Paris and want to meet people with some interest in Breton/Celtic culture (don’t forget to mention you came because of us!). They are the ones organising 10 days of Bretons events in Mai to celebrate Breton culture, and had the great idea to invite us 🙂

Here are some words from both of us after our out-doors gig next to City Council from Paris XIVème – if you want to hear Yann, jump to 9’30 where he’s interviewed from the kids playground area!

Pics on Tour

Kiev Tour… we love Ukraine!

Can we say in a couple of words that playing in Kiev last week was an impressive and life changing experience? The type of experiences that opens your eyes to many new horizons and worlds. What made it different? Maybe the fact that neither us, neither the audiences had any fixed expectations, apart from being part of something?

We had to forget about many things we are used to: schedules, legal authorisations, … Yep, we even played outdoors without any real authorisation (because anyway, there isn’t any “authority” one could get a valid authorisation from… kind of), police came at the end of the Friday’s and Saturday’s concerts because of noise, and no need to mention that the first time we were quite … scared? Oh yes… Organisers/promoters dealt with them while we were packing. But before that… we had awesome times! Great energy on stage!

We feel we are so lucky in western Europe to have peace, freedom and clear rights and obligations… do we really make the best of it?

§ Simone

Musicians' Diary, Pics on Tour

Busking in European cities – Part 2

Let’s talk today about busking in the German world, which means Germany, Austria and Switzerland (sorry, I will not be talking about german minorities from Hungary, Czech republic, Romania or Serbia…).

Germany : it seems that there’s no particular regulation as far as I know (maybe I’m wrong !), but what I can say is that you should never busk in front of a bank or a jewellery. You’ll get kicked off by security staff even before you start playing ! 😉 I had this experience in Ulm.

Ulm, next to the Cathedral.

The other thing I know from my own experience : don’t expect to earn much money from busking in Germany ! It is a very different atmosphere compared to Greece (for example), my feeling (maybe wrong) is that people look somewhat anxious !

Switzerland : Rather complicated, each city has its own rules. You may generally be supposed to ask a permission from local authorities, to pay around 70CHF for their agreement, plus around 7CHF per busking day. Beware ! Unless you know tips from experienced buskers, for example “wild” busking is allowed in Basel after 7pm !

Austria : When no regulation (Salzburg), you’ll be competing with local gipsies. People obviously fed up wouldn’t even notice your presence !

A different situation in Innsbruck, where people may be quite sensitive, unless you perform in the main touristic street (Herzog-Friedrich straBe), full of Asian tourist, they won’t drop you a single Euro (I tried ;)), maybe unless you play major-scaled accordion dressed up in a Tyrolean traditional costume !

A good busking place in Innsbruck. You can see the entrance of the touristic area at the other end of the square, that you should definitely avoid for busking 😉 !

Let’s point out something else : I have nothing against Tyrolean music, its major scales and its highly non-modal structure (1) ! I can prove it, we found a pub with a session inside with local musicians :

Graz : They have special regulations. The police was extremely friendly and gave me this brochure, specially dedicated to buskers ! Thanks to local authorities for their extreme devotion toward buskers 🙂 ! Everything you should know !

Busking regulation in Graz – Austria

Rules are simple, just get a free authorisation from Town Hall, and you can play in the whole pink area from 11 to 14 and 15 to 21 (is 13 the nap time ?), you have to switch place every 30 minutes…

Graz (Austria) – The main square.

(1) According to me, breton music and kurdish music for instance, are much closely connected than Breton and Fado, or Breton and Tyrolean music, which are TRUE western music 😉 !


Music, Musicians' Diary, Pics on Tour, Sound & Video

Recording/mixing another (irish folk) band ?

A few weeks ago, time had come for us to go to the east of France and get our prize from the Jotinette contest, which actually was a perfect excuse for us to go and meet musicians from this area ! Not only we met them and had great time there, we even recorded a demo for one of their bands called Hop Corner. They play traditionnal Irish folk music.

I thought it could be quite a challenge as well as a valuable experience to record and mix a band in an extremely acoustic setup (fiddle, irish flute, bouzouki/guitar), which is somehow far opposite from what I am used to do with Astrakan Project…

The recording studio, actually a nice room dedicated to music ! Look at this gorgeous wooden floor.

The recording was made “live”, with stage microphones, actually what was available in the house !

Sam & Zsófi, actually the landlords of this amazing house !
Julien & Sam.

It was actually a nice and extremely friendly recording session, followed by a couple of days mixing / mastering…

And this is what it sounds like, we hope you will like it as much as we do !

You can hear their full 5-track demo from their website, and it really worth it :

…and follow/like them on Facebook ! 😉

Pics on Tour, Sound & Video

An old memory from our *first* gig ever in London!

Look what just popped up! A souvenir from our first London gig during our first UK tour, almost a year ago… feels like ages and also feels like yesterday! Our big smile has probably to do with the awesome people we had met during that first tour that are now part of our lives – and also with the awesome gig we had performed in Ipswich the previous days.

I don’t know if any of you can tell the huge sound change on stage – we really can! It’s good to look back and feel we’ve moved forward that much. And also to imagine where we can be in maybe a year ahead? 😉


Musicians' Diary, Pics on Tour, Sound & Video

A documentary about busking ?

Yes, everything may happen in this world ! We met Peppe Lovino last week as I was busking in Cardiff’s main street (Wales – UK), who is a student currently setting up an international documentary about busking.

1610896_668413253265288_1388105497874229754_n 10343660_668413123265301_2953991569315098309_n

I must say that for musicians  – professionnal or not -, street busking is something pretty usual as well as recognised in the UK, also a reason why we distinguish “busking” from “begging”, which is supposed to be totally different.

10898069_668413206598626_5197878578767531623_n 11026052_668413303265283_4779283474798891737_n

According to Peppe, buskers have in many cases very interesting and unusual experiences to share, which gives enough reasons and material to build a full documentary about it. This is a first rush of his footage :

You may have noticed that I mostly play irish music while busking, I indeed use this time to play some of my favourite irish tunes, and to intensively practice my irish fiddling under hard conditions (for example, the weather was freezing like hell, as you can see by the fact that I was wearing woolen gloves, specially designed and made for winter busking by Simone 😉 !

§ Yann

Musicians' Diary, Pics on Tour

Promo time for album B!

We are really lucky we’ve been hosted by many nice people to promote our new album – it’s always a great chance to get our music out into the world while meeting very nice people at our interviews.

We’ve been to local radio Arvorig FM – a 100% in Breton language radio. (you can stream it online!)

Astrakan Project ba' Arvorig FM radio
@Arvorig FM – a 100% Breton radio with Pauline Daniel

We’ve also been to France Bleu Breizh Izel (local branch of the national radio) where we recorded two shows, one in Breton and one bilingual – they should be on air this week, watch out our facebook page to get notified.

Radio RBI Culture Breizh with Clément Soubigou
Recording Culture Breizh show with Clément Soubigou in Quimper

And also we played already 2 show-cases, one in Brest at the book & music shop l’Oreille KC:

And another in Morlaix today, again at a book & music shop called Dialogues:


So… all is well, and our little album is little by little getting to get heard in many places around Brittany. 🙂 But there is still more to come!

§ Simone