Art Work

Blog, DIY Album, Musicians' Diary

Hard-copy is not dead & about music visual identity


This unique piece of Artwork travels to Ireland as a reward for contributions to our Crowdfund campaign. Yann has been a few time to Ireland, but I haven’t so far… I’m hoping this painting is opening the road for me, it’s still a dream to go and visit some of the incredible megalithic sites as well as sites linked with Celtic Irish Culture. Performing there would obviously be a bonus 🙂 Let’s send this wish out into the winds!

Music is a classic performed by The Bothy Band in 1976/77 and released in 1996. Full version here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aWl_qdUK1o

 

And this one is on its way to the South of France…

ines bras

 

We are still only realizing how slowly incorporating my artwork into the project has become part of it, part of its identity, and has considerably impacted too the way we now envision projects. With the small audience we have, we probably wouldn’t have been able to reach the goal on the Crowdfunding campaign. The artwork is what has generated interest, it made it easy to post regular visual up-dates whereas posting music studio ones could feel a bit of the same.

When we went to local record labels with the project last year, I could sometimes hear something like “is it a book or is it a music album?” “how can we promote it if we’re not sure what it is?” “if it’s a book with just the lyrics, then it might just be a booklet, not a book.”

 

Once again, we are shown that what is hard to understand in the beginning is what makes us stand out and makes us different, and thus helps getting our project been noticed. In a way, the strong visual identity we’ve developed over the years balances the fact that the language we use can sometimes be an obstacle to dive in into our music.

Now that we started to get fantastic and lovely feedback from people receiving the first orders, we also can feel how the visual impact the way they perceive the music afterwards – so far in a very positive way.

Photo Joelle

Every music style is different, but in our case, we can confirm that we get to earn some money from hard copies sales while we barely make any sales on digital-only editions. We even had already a couple of people that ordered first the digital edition (that still includes the book in pdf) and re-ordered the hard-copy, and that was just the first week!

Is there any conclusion? While we hear very often that digital is the future, we can see exceptions all the time, and personaly it’s not what we’ve been noticing (since 2012, we’ve released 3 hard-copies and 2 digital only). Is there any rule? And who makes up the rules? As artists, we are creative people, and being creative is also something we can apply to the way we connect with our particular audience. We still have a lot to learn on that field, but the last months of conceiving and releasing Inês project has certainly been very inspiring in that field.

To be followed!

– Simone.

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Blog, Sound & Video

Road trip + street art + music all in one!


#shamanstick is a land & street art project around “En Anv Doue ma Mamm” is which we combined most of our passions: music, visual arts, video making, road trip and Breton language. PdF with artwork HR pics will be coming soon!

This adventure is being quite fulfilling, and we have many ideas for our next travels!


Be among the first to get info about our projects and releases by subscribing to our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/vhBnn

 

Song from album B http://astrakanproject.bandcamp.com/album/astrakan-project-b
Artwork project #shamanstick & video edit by Simone Alves 2017
Music “En anv Doue ma Mamm”
Lyrics & music base: traditional, Brittany
Arrang : Astrakan Project
© & ® simone alves & yann gourvil 2014

Roadtrip Be+Nl+Dk+Sv april 2017

Blog, Sound & Video

#shamanstick Teaser time


 

#shamanstick is a land & street art project around “En Anv Doue ma Mamm” is which we combined most of our passions: music, visual arts, video making, road trip and Breton language. Full video will be out (very!) soon.

You can hear the full song here:

And you too can be among the first to get info about our projects and releases by subscribing to our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/vhBnn (sent about 3 times a year)

Musicians' Diary

The Final countdown!


Hello,

It’s been a long time since we haven’t blogged. Not that we didn’t have anything to tell about. We may even have had so much to tell about that it could somehow have been overwhelming… Lot’s of uncertainties, of projects, ideas, dreams that had been on hold for months  and that we weren’t sure we could bring to fruition.

Since we returned last month from our last UK tour, we’be been super active in many direction, and we finally can announce it…. next video will be released for Beltane (the night of the 1st of May).

fleurs de lotus video

We’re in the very final stage of editing the video. It’s the first time we get to work with a video director (except for live videos, but it’s quite different), and we are very lucky to be working with a very talented person, that not only was able to direct the performance shooting, but also is animating some of my drawings. And it’s incredible to see them coming to life!

Tour-wise, we’ve been booking for Germany, Luxembourg and Austria for next winter and fall (keep an eye at this section), not much towards the UK, but this should be done shortly too.

All for now!

§ Simone

 

Sound & Video

Pieter Breughel in Brussel – Wannes Van de Velde cover


Last June when we played in Belsele at ‘t Ey (Belgium), Dirk from the very nice team hosting us that night played this Flemish song that we then heard for the first time,on the piano… the moment was magical! And we both thought once we’d have some time we would try to work on a version of ours. Moreover the song from Wannes Van de Velde is about Pieter Brughel (the XVI° painter, that painted The Tower of Babel) and his dilemma and understanding of how due to political changes, from Spanish language people in Flanders had switched to French when his own language was Flemish.

This is the original version we worked from – pronunciation is so clear and detached despite of the speed space! It has been a challenging exercise to find the balance between some Flemish-Antwerp sounds and the way I normally would pronounce it in Dutch – that is: with an obvious French flavour!

The Tower of Babel, the famous painting from Pieter Breughel relates to the biblical story about misunderstanding between humans caused by different languages. For us it relates to the awesome richness of humanity, and more than other things reminds us of our stay in South-East of Turkey, in the areas of Mardin and Diyarbakir and to a certain extend in Lebanon. What we most loved was the blurred border between human groups. You can’t easily tell who belongs to which group, based on what? religion? language? accent? race??? Surprisingly and in its own way, Diyarbakir was much more cosmopolitan than Istanbul. Our plan for after the album’s release was actually to go back and cross the border to Northern Iraq, which sadly is at the moment totally impossible. Sadly also we see how this rich mixture of cultures is dying in one of the most important areas for our cultures.

For those who wonder, we both speak some reasonable Dutch since we lived in The Netherlands for a while but…. a loooooong time ago!

We hope you’ll enjoy it as much as La Jotinette! 😉

§ Simone

Music

{very} Special Bundles for Album B Release


For the release of our album B, we have created some cool bundles…

Special bundle for album release with bonus fest-noz vintage recording

They are 9 of these bundles specially made for Art and Astrakan lovers, each with a little original artwork created for the album booklet, which means, each of them is unique, and it’s of course a super limited edition that will each include:

  • The album of course!
  • A link to download the full album
  • One of the last copies available of or EP Torkad – Kofrig ar Sorserez… released in 2005! 100% acoustic, and it includes the very first version of “Sell ouzh ar Stered” (with different lyrics Adam hag Eva)
  • An original piece of artwork used to create the album booklet. Sizes differ a bit (and price also because it depends on the postage costs). They are all on very good quality watercolour paper and include various styles of mixed-media depending on each piece. (pleased note that it isn’t framed to keep the cost of postage reasonable)
  • Some personal notes regarding the song linked with the art-work and hand-written lyrics
  • A post-card with some of Simone’s Artwork print
  • Shipping anywhere in the world + nice and safe packaging

Here they are…

1 – Sell ouzh ar Stered (Look at the Stars)

Astrakan Project B album - special bundle for release - AW01 Sell ouzh ar Stered
Sell ouzh ar Stered (Look at The Stars) Approx size 15.5*15.3 cm (6.10*6 in) 

Sorry… already sold !

 


2 – En Anv Doue ma Mamm

Astrakan Project B album - special bundle for release - AW02 En Anv Doue ma Mamm
En Anv Doue ma Mamm – approx size 15*16.5 cm (5.90*6.5 in)

Bundle price : 45€

Paypal Bouton


3 – Gwerz Inês

Astrakan Project B album - special bundle for release - AW03 Gwerz Inês
Gwerz Inês – approx size 21.5*21 cm (8.46*8.25 in)

Bundle price : 55€

Paypal Bouton


4 – Sekrejoù ar C’Hloareg

Astrakan Project B album - special bundle for release - AW04 sekrejou ar chloareg
Sekrejoù ar c’hloareg – approx size 15*15.5 cm ( 5.90*6.10 in)

Sorry… already sold !


5 – Gwerz an Yougoslavi

Astrakan Project B album - special bundle for release - AW05 Gwerz an Yougoslavi
Gwerz an Yougoslavi Approx size 14.5*15 cm ( 5.7*5.9 in ) 

Bundle price : 45€

Paypal Bouton


6 – Seizh Bloaz

Astrakan Project B album - special bundle for release - AW06 Seizh Bloaz
Seizh Bloaz – approx size 15*15.2 cm (5.90*6 in)

Bundle price : 45€

Paypal Bouton


7- My beloved has died

Astrakan Project B album - special bundle for release - AW07 My beloved has died
My beloved has died – approx size 15*15.2 cm (5.90*6 in)

Bundle price : 45€

Paypal Bouton


 8 – Ar c’hased Arc’hant

Astrakan Project B album - special bundle for release - AW08 ar c'hased arc'hant
Ar c’hased arc’hant – approx size 15*15.2 cm (5.90*6 in)

Bundle price : 45€

Paypal Bouton


9 – Ar Plac’h Yaouank ag an Oriant

- special bundle for release - AW09 ar plac'h yaouank ag an oriant
Ar plac’h yaouank ag an Oriant – approx size 15.5*14.8 cm ( 6.10*5.8 in)

Bundle price : 45€

Paypal Bouton

DIY Album, Sound & Video

Making new from old AKA dare to sacrifice


Our album is right now being manufactured, it’s a big achievement already! We still have a lot to do, but we can be more relax since the first big deadline is over (and we made it! 🙂 ) And since we were so busy last week, here’s a sneak-pick on how we created the album cover.

Our music too is pretty much also about “sacrificing” ancient (and beautiful) a-capela songs to turn them into new pieces. Sometimes we barely dare to. For some tunes, including some on next album, we waited for years before we dared to. Not by fear really. But because it’s sometimes hard to transform a song into a new tune that will at least compete with the original version.

§ Simone

DIY Album, Musicians' Diary

What else do you need to release your next album?


… You need Gesso!!! Or at least, I need gesso!

What? Gesso is a primer used to coat canvasses or paper before painting, especially loved and treasured by artists that love multiple layers and materials as well as heavy textures. Well… like me! I love gesso. And I still don’t know how I run out of my precious primer, (well, no, not completely, I still have some black gesso 😉 ) , and not only I run out of gesso, but also I haven’t found so far any art-shop in my area in Greece (around Kavala, if you happened to be reading and know one, please! Don’t let me down, leave me a comment!).

Not only did I run out of gesso, but I’m painting for next album cover (ho, here comes the album!), so, what can I do?
DIY homemade gesso primer

So what else than go back to the old Do It Yourself method. Yes. Again. I found an easy recipe here. Basically baby powder+white glue+water. I chose to add some very white paint. I’ll wait until tomorrow to allow it to settle.

I sometimes wonder if I haven’t been cursed for really needing again and again to find last minutes creative solutions. Do I really wish things would be different? Noooooo ! 😉

§ Simone

Buy Astrakan Project debut album