Blog, Music, Musicians' Diary, Sound & Video

Koçari – Turkish folk song and goodbye to Dniper river

Along our travels we certainly heard plenty of songs, and we started recording some of them that we entend to release as video projects for now. This one is in Turkish, from the Black Sea area close to Georgia, and actually the version we worked from initially was from the Georgian artist Lela Tsurtsumia.

Depuis le temps que nous voyageons pour écouter des chansons, il nous prend parfois l’envie de les enregistrer aussi, de se les approprier. Nous en avons plusieurs en cours, que nous allons pour le moment sortir sous forme de projets vidéos. Cette première chanson vient de la Mer Noire, à l’Est et pas très loin de la Géorgie, et elle est en Turc. La première version que nous avons entendu était celle de l’artiste géorgienne Lela Tsurtsumia.

The video expresses our love for summer in the Dnieper islands and is a celebration of its peaceful beauty and presence. We heard after the video was finished of a similar tradition at solstice time of crown flowers sent to the river – but it is *almost* a coincidence that our video is similar 😉 We’ll tell you more about it very soon in our next vlog.

Le vidéo est un ode à notre amour pour la beauté majestueuse du Dniepr et de ses îles au cœur de la ville de Kiev, que nous nous apprêtons à quitter. C’est lorsque nous l’avons terminée que l’on nous parlé de la tradition du Solstice d’été (Kupala) au cours de laquelle les jeunes filles confient leur couronne de fleurs au fleuve. C’est une coïncidence un peu magique, et on vous la raconte en détail très vite 🙂

This song is at the moment not available for sale or for download, but here are other ways to support our artistic explorations :

Ce titre n’est ni en vente ni téléchargeable, mais voici d’autres moyens de soutenir nos explorations musicales :

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

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

Social http://www.facebook.com/astrakanproject

Musicians' Diary

The places that stimulate inspiration

I think the place you are in can strongly influence your inspiration for creating music. Let’s have a quick tour of some places that gave us some inspiration while we were working on the album

The first one is of course the place we live : Istanbul…


…which is supposed to give inspiration. We had the idea of 1932‘s rhythm while crossing the Bosphorus…



We worked a lot on Twist en-dro war al leur-goatKreñv veld ar garantez and Mouezhioù in Bulgaria…


…in this wonderful house…


…with FOLK TV running all day long…


Listening to Folk TV all day made me fully understand 9/8 rhythms, and gave us the basis of our song An daou gamerad fidel.

The Traditional Music School of Shiroka Laka [BG]:


Of course, every day view / environment is extremely relevant…

DSC_0295 DSC_0042

Istanbul can be extremely stimulating !



But also somewhat disturbing…


Maybe the time has come to look for another stimulating place…

§ Yann

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Musicians' Diary

Using oriental instruments ?

Music instruments that were (and are still) most commonly used in Breton music were bombard, biniou (breton bagpipe), treujenn gaol, (actually a clarinet), accordion.

Bombard (left) and biniou (right), mostly played together

More recently (i.e. in the 70’s and after World War II), new instruments like guitars, Irish wooden flute, bass, violin, Scottish bagpipes were introduced.

Treujenn Gaol (Breton clarinet)

In Astrakan Project, I mostly play stringed instruments. You may have noticed that I use guitar, but also Turkish ‘ud and bağlama (commonly called saz in western Europe). One may think this is to give an oriental flavour to our music. This might be partly true, but I don’t think this is the main reason.


One good reason is of course the fact that we currently live in Turkey, where ‘ud and bağlama are commonly used, so why shouldn’t I use them, temptation is so huge ?

But another good reason is that these instruments enables to play “more notes”, including the so called “commas“. In Breton music, we do have “commas” (see here for further explanations, for musicologists only !), yes, but they tend to disappear with the introduction of guitar, accordion and Scottish bagpipes for instance. You can play any note you want on a ‘ud, and almost any on a bağlama (even if there are frets).


When I play a breton tune, I feel closer to the truth (?) when I use the ‘ud than when I use the guitar, I think that’s a good reason for using oriental instruments !

§ Yann