Sound & Video


Videos – well mostly homemad vids! – and recordings

Musicians' Diary, Sound & Video

No teaser, no Astrakan Project ;)


Just in case you’d miss it, we couldn’t carry any longer without a little teaser for our project 😉 Best way to keep up with our videos updates is to subscribe to our channel.

http://www.youtube.com/astrakanproject?sub_confirmation=1

Au cas ou vous l’auriez manqué, mais bien sûr qu’on a fait un petit teaser pour notre projet de reprise de Running Up That Hill en breton 😉 le meilleur moyen de ne rien louper c’est de vous abonner à notre chaîne YouTube.

Musicians' Diary, Sound & Video

1st part of our video collaborative project is over!


(en français plus bas)

We’ve had altogether about 50 different wonderful persons sending out their playback for us to consider using in the official video for our Running Up That Hill cover in Breton. That’s huge ! We’ve had plenty of wonderful feedback, also from other folks, and a serious amount of contributions from our international fans! You are amazing really! … And here’s where we’re at, how we’ll select the playbacks and also how we’ll proceed to video editing. With some bonus bits of Kiev in the spring.

If you’re a YouTube user, you may even want to subscribe https://www.youtube.com/user/astrakanproject?sub_confirmation=1

C’est fini, nous avons fini de récupérer les propositions de playback de près de 50 personnes en tout afin de créer la vidéo officielle de notre reprise de Running Up That Hill en Breton  ! C’est énorme, on ne pensait vraiment pas recevoir autant de propositions, y compris de notre public international, de GB, des USA aussi ! Donc on vous explique en vidéo comment on va retenir ce qui sera dans la vidéo finale, et comment on passe au montage. En bonus quelques vues de Kiev au printemps – c’est verdoyant !

Si vous avez un compte YouTube, n’oubliez pas de vous abonner https://www.youtube.com/user/astrakanproject?sub_confirmation=1

Blog, Musicians' Diary, Sound & Video

Filming yourself for our project


Both sides of a scene yesterday on the left bank of Kiev, let’s have a closer look at this quite rich scene.

Doing the playback for our “running up that hill” video, a friend we met and performed with some years ago in Kiev, he’s from Moldova, worked for Diwan school in Paris (Breton language schools), and was wearing a traditional Georgian hat for the occasion. He’s also a big fan of Breton music 😉

Very typical Astrakan story I guess 😉

Technicaly: 2 mobile phones, one used to film (the best quality one, with the back lens that is always better quality), the 2nd hold by a kind assistant is playing the video, loud enough, with the lyrics 😉
If you don’t have an assistant but can borrow a phone, you can tape them to a stick, a rod, a shelve if you’re at home…
It’s better to have the one filming bellow, and the one with the lyrics video above (for the sake of the eyes direction)

Also be mindful of not closing the little sound holes with either your fingers or the tape you’re using 
The video below shows a variation, but it’s in French, with some philosophical talking from me about self-image, confidence on camera. Let us know if you’d be interested or need something similar in English, and we’d happily do it.


Pile ou face hier, rive gauche de Kiev, un beau moment que l’on vous décrypte 😉
Humainement : un super musicien que l’on voit trop peu, on s’est rencontrés à Kiev, il y a longtemps, il est Moldave, a travaillé à l’école Diwan de Paris, et portait un chapeau traditionnel géorgien pour l’occasion. Ha, et il adore la musique bretonne !

Qui d’autre qu’Astrakan pour vous conter des histoires pareilles?

Techniquement :

Système hyper efficace qui a fait ses preuves hier, 2 téléphones : un qui filme, un tenu par un gentil assistant avec la vidéo pour le texte et le son. Si on n’a pas l’assistant, on peut lui emprunter le 2ème téléphone et fixer l’un au-dessus de l’autre sur… un manche, un poteau, une étagère si on est à l’intérieur…
Le fait qu’ils soient l’un sous l’autre (c’est mieux le texte au dessus) permettent de garder le regard pas trop éloigné de l’objectif.
Il faut juste faire attention de ne pas boucher les petits trous du son avec les doigts ou le scotch 😉

La vidéo montre une variante en intérieur avec vidéo et texte sur un écran d’ordinateur, pour quand on ne peut pas sortir ou que l’on n’a pas d’assistant. Simone y aborde aussi les aspects psychologiques de se filmer, qui peuvent toucher l’image de soi, l’estime de soi, etc…

Liens / links

Video avec le texte / with lyrics https://youtu.be/dHP-qXqKf2o

Explications en français https://youtu.be/avEfU4gHftY

Titouroù e Brezhoneg https://youtu.be/GdFIsdwnIwE

Explanations in English https://youtu.be/g-mFb0sZeKM

Première partie du texte : https://youtu.be/64ZNa1Agf5A

Deuxième partie du texte : https://youtu.be/jFFJrSy9nUI

Tuto WeTransfer https://youtu.be/np5Zo0Gi2Ls

PdF with lyrics / PdF avec le texte : https://drive.google.com/file/d/1R1ALdaOhqvA6gI7qZ7jHh1BqE8wrMeGa/view

Music shop http://www.astrakanproject.bandcamp.com/

To donate and support our project http://www.paypal.me/astrakan

any amount small or big can make a huge difference to us

Blog, Musicians' Diary, Sound & Video

Breton Pronunciation part 3


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Here’s the third of a 3 video series with me singing at a lower and without music but with some explanations the lyrics for our collaborative video project based on the Breton version of Running Up That Hill.

First video is here : https://youtu.be/64ZNa1Agf5A

Second video : https://youtu.be/jFFJrSy9nUI

It’s in French we know! But, you can still follow along, and, Simone is creating a video about more general Breton pronunciation, that can be interesting for you and can then give you some tips to follow with more ease on whatever Breton song you would be learning from its written version.

Again, let us know in the comments here or on YouTube if that’s something you’d be interested in 🙂

Voici donc la dernière des 3 vidéos dans lesquelles je décortique un peu le texte de notre version de Running Up That Hill en breton. C’est en français, le texte défile, dites-nous en commentaire si ça vous aide, où si vous avez besoin d’autre chose pour avancer un peu plus.
8 jours encore !

Nous filmons aussi en ce moment deux exemples de comment faire votre playback facilement avec les moyens du bord, qui à notre époque sont quand même plutôt confortables.

La première vidéo est là : https://youtu.be/64ZNa1Agf5A

Et la deuxième : https://youtu.be/jFFJrSy9nUI

Tous les liens sont dessous pour les documents, textes, conseils etc…

PdF with lyrics / PdF avec le texte : https://drive.google.com/file/d/1R1ALdaOhqvA6gI7qZ7jHh1BqE8wrMeGa/view

Sur YouTube : https://youtu.be/dHP-qXqKf2o

Contact : astrakanproject@gmail.com

Deadline : 17/05/2020

Explications en Français : https://youtu.be/avEfU4gHftY

Explanations in English : https://youtu.be/g-mFb0sZeKM

Titouroù e Brezhoneg : https://youtu.be/g-mFb0sZeKM

Music shop http://www.bandcamp.com/astrakanproject

To donate and support our project http://www.paypal.me/astrakan any amount small or big can make a huge difference to us.

Blog, Musicians' Diary, Sound & Video

Breton Pronunciation part 2


Here’s the second of a 3 video serie with me singing at a lower and without music but with some explanations the lyrics for our collaborative video project based on the Breton version of Running Up That Hill.

First video is here : https://youtu.be/64ZNa1Agf5A

It’s in French we know! But, you can still follow along, and, Simone is creating a video about more general Breton pronunciation, that can be interesting for you and can then give you some tips to follow with more ease on whatever Breton song you would be learning from its written version.

Let us know in the comments if that’s something you’d be interested in 🙂

Donc, chose promise chose due, la deuxième des 3 vidéos dans lesquelles je décortique un peu le texte de notre version de Running Up That Hill en breton. C’est en français, le texte défile, dites-nous en commentaire si ça vous aide, où si vous avez besoin d’autre chose pour avancer un peu plus.
10 jours encore !

La première vidéo est là : https://youtu.be/64ZNa1Agf5A

Tous les liens sont dessous pour les documents, textes, conseils etc…

PdF with lyrics / PdF avec le texte : https://drive.google.com/file/d/1R1ALdaOhqvA6gI7qZ7jHh1BqE8wrMeGa/view

Sur YouTube : https://youtu.be/dHP-qXqKf2o

Contact : astrakanproject@gmail.com

Deadline : 17/05/2020

Explications en Français : https://youtu.be/avEfU4gHftY

Explanations in English : https://youtu.be/g-mFb0sZeKM

Titouroù e Brezhoneg : https://youtu.be/g-mFb0sZeKM

Music shop http://www.bandcamp.com/astrakanproject

To donate and support our project http://www.paypal.me/astrakan any amount small or big can make a huge difference to us.

Blog, Musicians' Diary, Sound & Video

Breton Pronunciation part 1


Here’s the first of a 3 video serie with me singing at a lower and without music but with some explanations the lyrics for our collaborative video project based on the Breton version of Running Up That Hill.

It’s in French we know! But, you can still follow along, and, Simone is creating a video about more general Breton pronunciation, that can be interesting for you and can then give you some tips to follow with more ease on whatever Breton song you would be learning from its written version.

Let us know in the comments if that’s something you’d be interested in 🙂

Donc, chose promise chose due, la première des 3 vidéos dans lesquelles je décortique un peu le texte de notre version de Running Up That Hill en breton. C’est en français, le texte défile, dites-nous en commentaire si ça vous aide, où si vous avez besoin d’autre chose pour avancer un peu plus.
10 jours encore !

Tous les liens sont dessous pour les documents, textes, conseils etc…

PdF with lyrics / PdF avec le texte : https://drive.google.com/file/d/1R1ALdaOhqvA6gI7qZ7jHh1BqE8wrMeGa/view

Sur YouTube : https://youtu.be/dHP-qXqKf2o

Contact : astrakanproject@gmail.com

Deadline : 17/05/2020

Explications en Français : https://youtu.be/avEfU4gHftY

Explanations in English : https://youtu.be/g-mFb0sZeKM

Titouroù e Brezhoneg : https://youtu.be/g-mFb0sZeKM

Music shop http://www.bandcamp.com/astrakanproject

To donate and support our project http://www.paypal.me/astrakan any amount small or big can make a huge difference to us.

Musicians' Diary, Sound & Video

Q and A live on facebook 03/05/2020


Hello Astrakanees !

We did a Q&A yesterday on facebook, you can watch it on our YouTube here, but know that since it came from the live version, this version has completely unsynchronized sound ! It’s good on some parts, completely out in some others, it’s a mystery for me why, if you have any advice, feel free to leave a comment 🙂 In any case do something else and just listen, there’s no fancy sequence included ! But rather go to the YouTube channel, I have put in shortcuts (in the description box) to every question (all is in French first, English afterwards).

You folks are amazing !

Coucou,

Voici le replay de notre live questions/réponses sur facebook hier, le son est complètement décalé par rapport à l’image, ça vient du fait que c’est pris sur le live facebook. C’était en face à certains endroits, complètement décalé à d’autres, si quelqu’un a une explication et une astuce vidéo pour y remédier, je prends! Regardes en faisant autre chose, et plutôt sur YouTube directement, car j’ai mis des indices (dans la barre de description) et ça permet d’aller directement à chaque question (c’est toujours en français en 1er)

Also a big huge thank you to those who:

  • Already said they will be in ! Big up to folks in Wales, US & Corwal, but also in England, Mexico…
  • Shared our project, give us lovely feedback !
  • Supported our project by buying digital music last Friday on Bandcamp (you still can, anytime, but if you are planning on doing so, we’ll send you a reminder, on the 3rd of June, Bandcamp won’t charge anything, so that will be a little extra for us 😉 )
  • Supported us by making a donation to http://www.paypal.me/astrakan (you can donate any amount, it makes a huge difference for us!)

On en profite pour remercier ceux qui:

  • Ont déjà dit qu’ils allaient participer, des bretonnants, des gens qui apprennent et aussi tous ceux qui nous soutiennent, qui soutiennent aussi les langues et les cultures à travers le monde, dans le monde celtique, et au-delà aussi !
  • Ceux qui ont partagé, et envoyé des supers commentaires;
  • Ceux qui ont commandé nos albums en format numérique vendredi dernier. Vous pouvez toujours, mais une fois par mois, en soutient aux artistes, la plateforme nous fait cadeau de sa commission habituelle de 15%, ça fait une différence. On postera un rappel, la prochaine fois c’est le 3 juin;
  • Ceux qui ont fait un don pour nous soutenir via http://www.paypal.me/astrakan, chaque petit don fait une différence pour nous, quelque soit son montant 🙂

PdF with lyrics / PdF avec le texte : https://drive.google.com/file/d/1R1ALdaOhqvA6gI7qZ7jHh1BqE8wrMeGa/view

Full song with lyrics: https://youtu.be/dHP-qXqKf2o

Contact : astrakanproject@gmail.com with http://www.wetransfer.com Deadline : 17/05/2020

Explications en français : https://youtu.be/avEfU4gHftY

Explanations in English : https://youtu.be/g-mFb0sZeKM

Titouroù e Brezhoneg : https://youtu.be/GdFIsdwnIwE

http://www.facebook.com/astrakanproject

To donate and support our project http://www.paypal.me/astrakan any amount small or big can make a huge difference to us ! A huge thank you for those who contributed!

Music, Sound & Video

Collaborative video project is out !


Here is the mysterious project we’ve been working on / le project mystère enfin révélé:

PdF with lyrics / PdF avec le texte : http://drive.google.com/file/d/1R1ALdaOhqvA6gI7qZ7jHh1BqE8wrMeGa/view?usp=sharing

Contact : astrakanproject@gmail.com

Deadline 17/05/2020

Details, background and instructions in English

Détails, petites anecdotes et instructions en français :

Hag e Brezhoneg

Blog, Sound & Video

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!