Sound & Video


Videos – well mostly homemad vids! – and recordings

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Spot the Korrigans !


I told you I was back into video, and tha I had plenty of ideas ! (so remember if not done yet, to subscribe to our channel, or even share it, there’s plenty more we could do on the channel once we hit a certain amount of subscribers 🙂 http://tinyurl.com/y4ugdtlo )

So here’s my latest short fun video with my favorite and very cooperative actor 🙂

Watch carefully !

How many Korrigans were you able to spot? 😉

Korrigans are little magical creatures found in Brittany mostly in remote magical places like stone circles, wells, hidden springs… They could relate to pixies in a certain way, they tend to be fun and happy, though it’s rather unsure whether their interactions with humans can be positive or negative!
In any case they tend to hide from humans, so it’s quite rare to spot them on their daily life.

Unlike gnomes for instance, they generally don’t live in houses or human settlements, they aren’t as far as one knows attached to any particular house or family. It’s said that they can sometimes be caught forming big circles and dancing under the moonshine. They can grant wishes to humans, but it’s generally not advised to go for it as they’re quite good at tricking you! We supposed that they got a bit grampy and prefer to hide from humans since they aren’t many places they can harmoniously share because of heavy agriculture, buildings and road constructions. Maybe it could also be because they hide their treasures, as it’s said they can create their own gold!

They’re plenty of categories and names for Korrigans, depending on where they live or where they hang, their size and style may vary as well. I have to confess I haven’t met enough of them to be that accurate about the categories 🙂

They have inspired many artists, the most famous one being maybe Pascal Moguerou, that has created numerous illustrations for books, postcards, or posters that can be found in any good stationery or souvenir shop in Brittany. All of his books are like precious beautiful grimoires.

Music is a traditional “fisel” dance played some years ago by Yann, and even I can tell that he doesn’t mix and edit music on the same way anymore!

The video was filmed in June 2019, in a “secret” location in Carnac 🙂 But we’ll reveal that special one very soon, stay tuned! Maybe another time I could share about other magical creatures, we’re trying to attract a Teuz to our house. A Teuz is also small in size, but they use to live with humans, and they would help them with daily cleaning and tidying in the house and the farm! Not kidding!

Thanks for watching and caring, you keep us going!

* Simone.

Note : Links may be affiliated for some of them (on Amazon for instance). As a friend of Astrakan Project, you allow us to earn a small commission if you make a purchase through our affiliate/referral links. This doesn’t affect you in any way in the checkout process. Thank you for supporting our creative journey!

Blog, Musicians' Diary, Sound & Video

Creativity, a need or an addiction for artists? 5 things I do to stay focused on my art!


June is around the corner. And it’s almost the end of the school year which for us means the end of our job contracts in high schools/ secondary schools. And it means also look behind and realise that despite of all going on in our lives, and we’ve definitely had our share this year, we have still been quite creative since January. 

Yann has done some deep sound work in the studio, and rethought the all way we organise our music set. I’ve done some small videos (some are even published on Youtube here), learned new editing tricks, taken pictures, done small drawings. Nothing physically released that’s for sure, no new recording, although we’ve tried hard on that.

I guess like for most artists, creating is a need, can I even say a basic need? One that if it isn’t met messes up all of our lives even where all could go well? Or maybe it could rather be an addiction. Something we got so much used to that we feel we need and to want to experience it again and again?

As the years pass by I’m coming to the conclusion that it isn’t just about “being creative”. It’s also about “staying” and “feeling creative” no matter what. No matter the turmoil of life, no matter if our art doesn’t generate enough revenue to make a living and get us back to side-tiring-non exciting-jobs.

1 Recognise what can’t be done right now

Sometimes it’s just not the time and recognising and accepting it seems to make it easier to navigate through. I’ve seen too many times what denial could do to us. Denying that we aren’t getting the expected gigs/sales/views/streams. Denying that it makes us feel sad and worthless. And fooling ourselves pretending it’s about not giving up. Getting revenue to sustain our living and ensure we’ll be able to live decently, afford healthy food, replace expensive violin strings, do some unavoidable repairs in the house or on the car, all this certainly isn’t about giving up on our creativity.

2 See instead what you can do & start creating something small

We all hear about “dream big”, and keep on seeing this quote shared by anyone on facebook “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” (which btw is by Norman Vincent Peale, author of the Power of Positive Thinking which worth a read ). I feel it’s ok to do so…. when it makes me feel good! When it doesn’t, because let’s be honest when my tour agenda is almost empty the gap is too big for my mind to deal with, I can’t fool myself on that one.

I realised I hadn’t created many videos in years, although it made me extremely happy, and I just thought this was extremely sad. I used to vlog for Astrakan Project. To shoot little sequences just because they had interest for my eyes and because I wanted to see them come to life. There are many reasons for why I was doing less of these. On one hand it’s true that the small equipment I’m lucky to own has its limitations. A lot of limitations for sure, and the truth is also, when I hear our music, I have visions of glorious landscapes and skies that I can’t capture. And I imagine scripts (I wrote a few of them, some even with a storyboard!) that can’t be done with me alone so far.

What was then my cure? Go back to step 1! I acknowledged I couldn’t do these projects right now, and started thinking about what was doable right now. Doable technically. Doable schedule-wise too. I realised I was aiming at creating a full music video, with our tracks being almost all more than 5 min long, that’s a tremendous amount of work, and just the thought was pulling me back from doing anything.at.all! And guess what? It made me so happy to imagine, shot and edit this small sequence with my son!

In a way, I try to change my perspective. Instead of staying stuck into “want I want to do”, I gently try to push myself to also see “what I can easily do” and that makes me (quite as) happy too.

I’m preparing a few more, you can subscribe to our Youtube channel here if you haven’t done so.   http://www.youtube.com/astrakanproject/?sub_confirmation=1.

3 Reduce social media

And I’m serious on that one! More than often I can be more than happy about friends having gigs, tours, exhibitions, and I’m happy to listen to new music people share, discover new videos. But again, if the gap is too big with what I’m experiencing right now, I just see how it makes me feel sad to hear/see their own achievements, and then it builds up to resentment, to feeling like a victim, and I deeply believe feeling like a victim doesn’t really pair with being a thriving artist! My feeling again, everyone is different, some people may get motivated by some sort of competition or revenge, but it’s not my case at all, I need to be centered and at peace to create.

the ghost of me - Simone Alves - Astrakan Project
The Ghost of Me.

Since a reduced my scrolling time, I noticed how I had more clarity, more ideas, and more focus for sure to deepen the ideas I have, and actually create them (I also noticed I could remember vibrant dreams, is that related?). I feel that even “nice”, “inspiring”, “classes”, “how to” content is an excuse for not being creating myself. There’s so much waiting to be done! I have a long way to go, but I’m taking responsibility for trying it out.

4 Read (or listen) to inspiring books instead!

My bible will forever be The Artist Way by Julia Cameron. I don’t know if there’s anyone around that hasn’t heard about her book, but if it’s your case, know that it’s been a companion for a decade, and it’s more than a usual inspirational book. It has concrete steps and exercises to get back on creativity. I could even award it as best-value-book-ever!

My second go to book is Big Magic, Creative Living beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. I listen to it actually rather than I read it, but I love it and it has changed my perspective on the expectations I had towards my art. I realised I was putting a lot of pressure on what I was creating. It had to please me, to make me happy, to get me revenue (oh! That’s a big one!), to get me to travel, to get me to meet new people. I realised I needed to accept (remember step 1 😉 ) that if it was really cool when it would happen, I should relax, step back, and re-focus on the process of creating, not on the out-come. To be honest, that’s way easier said than done and experienced!

The author has also a very unique take on inspiration and ideas. For Elizabeth Guilbert, ideas have an existence on their own, like they are floating around waiting for someone to grab them and materialise them into the physical world. A very profound book that I feel like… listening to again as soon as I press the publish button on this post!

I’m personally a big fan of audiobooks, especially for non-fiction books, books about creativity, motivational books. When I discovered about it, I was in awe with all the possibilities. I already loved long drives, but that definitely make them even more exciting! Same goes for cooking sessions!

(This link should give you 1 month for free, which means one book credit for free)

That’s all for today folks, if you have any advice or thought to share with me, please to in the comments below, if that was useful too 🙂

Wishing you a lovely, peaceful and creative week!

A galon / with heart, Simone

PS: Links may be affiliated for some of them (on Amazon for instance). As a friend of Astrakan Project, you allow us to earn a small commission if you make a purchase through our affiliate/referral links. This doesn’t affect you in any way in the checkout process. Thank you for supporting our creative journey!

Blog, Musicians' Diary, Sound & Video

On the (music) road. A long (emotional) road.


We’ve arrived in Greece after 2 weeks travel across the Balkan region (mostly Serbia and North Macedonia) that we miss so much. It had been 2 years since we hadn’t been around, and it really feels like we’re reunited with an ambiance that is deeply part of who we are – or rather have become.

 

We are very happy we had the plan to travel once the album would be released. We did some little promo before our departure, and thanks to the Internet (and easy cheap sim cards!), we can easily manage the rest of it for when we’ll be back to France early November.

Our happiness comes also from a more relaxed way from our behalf to deal with the album release. It’s a true fact that with the experience, we get better at it. And I’m not necessarily referring to the contacts, or the sequence of what needs to be done. That’s the easiest part in a way.

I’m here rather referring to the emotional part of the release, how having a limited audience in a niche style affects what we can do at release time. Basically, despite of the nice support we got during the crowdfunding campaign, we didn’t have huge crowds waiting for Inês album. Also, we got amazing feedback from some media, but also plenty of no replies from radios we’ve worked with previously. From people too. Some sales in the first week, though nothing exceptional.

Honestly, it can be an artist’heart’s killer! But as I said, we now plan for it, and planning for what we most love in the world *travelling* certainly smooths all the mixed feelings we experience. And don’t get us wrong! We do enjoy every bit of this amazing project, all is part of the game, it’s just music after-all, isn’t it? And as years pass by we do improve at staying motivated and grateful no matter what.

http://www.astrakanproject.bandcamp.com/album/in-s

§ Simone.

 

 

 

Blog, Musicians' Diary, Sound & Video

Ar Chaseadenn – The Hunt


Our Kid has grown with the story of Pedro and Inês, even before we started to compose for Inês album. Here’s his version of the Hunt (n.III on the album), in French, but during next UK tour we’ll train him to do it in English 🙂 All illustrated elements are to be found in Inês book.

 

Blog, Musicians' Diary, Sound & Video

Inês is out for good!


We are so – so – so happy that it’s all falling into place! The books have arrived and their colour are brilliant! They reflect very much what I had in mind when I envisioned Inês album. It’s also a personal relief that all went well, after all it’s our first book edited ever, and editing so many pages (96) in full colour with a lot of pictures (that’s the least one can say) was quite a challenge! Doesn’t it look gorgeous?

Only one place to get it: http://astrakanproject.bandcamp.com/album/in-s

We’ll try to take decent pictures from the book tomorrow, and talk a bit more of the final rush… but you still can enjoy the music in the meantime.

Blog, Musicians' Diary, Sound & Video

Official release day + pre-sale!


Drum roll! The CDs have arrived, we only need now the books, but… Inês will officially be shipped out on the 18/09/18 ! You can pre-order both digital edition and hard copy right now from Bandcamp as usual:

We’ve set up a very tiny price for the pre-sales on digital, until the 18/09/18, it includes 59′ (!) epic music and the 98 pages full colour book with lyrics and translations in French and English (+facts and stories).

For the limited edition hard-copy, you’ll receive:

  • Inês album on CD (59′ of awesome epic music!)
  • The book (96 full color pages): illustrated with Simone’s artwork, it includes full lyrics in Breton and their translations in English and French, and some facts about the music and story. It’s 24*16 cm / 9.44*6.30 inches
  • One A6 size postcard with the album artwork. (post-card printed at the back too). Limited edition only for pre-orders!
  • A handcrafted personal note.
  • Immediate download of the digital version of both the album and the book. 

Enjoy!

arrivee CDs kristen montage

Blog, Sound & Video

The Tale of the Coffee Mug [video]


The Tale of the Coffee Mug that set itself free. A true story, inspired by our road trip, our love for travel and freedom, and with a music initially planned for next album Inês.
And obsiosly driven by Yann’s legendary passion for coffee !
(sorry, wordpress seems not to want to integrate our video today, you’ll have to follow the link, but it worths it! We promise, the music is beautiful ! Click the pic ! )
The Tale of the Coffee Mug - van life
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Video script & edit : Simone Alves
Music : Yann Gourvil & traditional from Brittany
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Support our music and future projects! Stream/share/buy/gift our music :
Or visit Simone’s Art shop : https://www.etsy.com/no-en/shop/RosaBorboniana

 

Blog, Musicians' Diary, Sound & Video

Music under the Northern Lights


A small animation made with pictures of Northern Lights – we wish we had the equipment to film this beautiful show.
Music was the primary study for next album Inês (based on a medieval portuguese love story – and a true tragic love story !). Since we completely changed the idea, you still may enjoy it without spoiling it ! Again, a new concept by Astrakan Project : the fake teaser !

Honestly it is weird for us to imagine very soon when we’ll head to the South we won’t be scrutinising the sky for the magical Northern Lights.

montage fourgon nordlys

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