12 mai 2014

There haven't been any underwater photos for a while.

               On Easter Sunday, I went out on a boat trip with the Bretons of Mayotte association. Dragged a friend along, too, and there also happened to be a couple of folk dancers on the same boat. We went to the north of Mayotte to look for dolphins and possibly manta rays. Found a few dolphins - not the usual few hundreds, just ten or so - and watched them for a bit, then we stopped off at the Îlots Choisil for lunch.                ... [Lire la suite]
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05 mai 2014

Carnival Week-End II : A Colourful Parade

           The carnival in commemoration of Slavery Abolition Day continued on the Sunday as well. First of all, I wanted to show you the diversity of musical instruments. In case you're wondering, the most prized instrument here is an old washing-machine drum. It's found in all the ceremonies and parties. One of these drums (top photo) was being used to carry the group's water bottles. Another useful instrument is an oven tray turned upside-down. I even saw one man playing a Coke can.    ... [Lire la suite]
28 avril 2014

Carnival Week-End I : A Motivated Zebu

              Sunday 27th April is Slavery Abolition Day in Mayotte. This is usually commemorated by a carnival, comprising various dances, an exhibition of some sort at the Tourist Office and possibly another event. On Saturday, something was planned to start at half past three. Nothing was said about what was to happen, just that there would be something in the Republic Square of Mamoudzou. I invited a friend along and showed up in time to see a wonderful Mahorese corrida. In a Spanish... [Lire la suite]
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14 avril 2014

Majicavo

The village I live in is called Majicavo. Literally, it means "where there is no water". Like all Mahorese villages, it's a very poor place, but near enough to the capital (Mamoudzou) for people to want to be modern and Westernized. Also like all Mahorese villages, it has a lot of shops, known as doukas, and small local restaurants, called brochetti or brochetterie because they sell mainly chicken wings and kebabs of meat or fish. They have names such as "Welcome Mayotte", "Mastéréhi" ("Enjoy your meal and be at rest"),... [Lire la suite]
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24 mars 2014

Two Classical Concerts Went To Market...

         This week-end and last week-end, there were two concerts. Not the same one repeated but two different ones. The common denominator was the music school director's sister, Odile, who plays first flute in the Avignon orchestra and who sings too. She was in Mayotte on holiday for ten days, so they wanted to show her off as much as possible while she was here. She and the cellist, Kerstin, a Swedish lady I've already played with a couple of times and who is lovely, have been working together for the... [Lire la suite]
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17 mars 2014

Hey to the Ferry.

          P came over during my half-term holidays to spend a week in Mayotte with me. During that week, we played a lot of music and we ate out several times. It was on one of these times that something rather interesting happened. The restaurant we wanted to go to was on the small island, and my flat is on the big island. So far all was well, we bought a couple of ferry tickets (there are ferries across the water every half hour, the trip takes about twenty minutes) and got on the ferry. The problem was... [Lire la suite]
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03 mars 2014

This Is The Voiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice !

             There's a reality-TV show called The Voice. The idea is to try out amateur singers, train them, get them singing all sorts of different musical styles, find the best one and record their first album with them. There are several shows of this type, it always feels a bit rigged because the applicants have been singing for ages before trying for the show, but they seem to receive good training and it certainly boosts their public notoriety. This one was coming to... [Lire la suite]
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17 février 2014

Playing the violin on stage.

            On the first day of February, the music school in Mamoudzou held its second classical concert. We'd managed to bring together quite the orchestra, with different - complementary - instruments, and different nationalities. One of the violinists was French, the other was Mexican. The violist was Greek and the cellist Swedish. Clarinetist and trumpeter were French, the girl on the recorder was English and the lad on the piano and organ was an Algerian Jew. We also had a couple of pupils from... [Lire la suite]
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10 février 2014

Dancing Nyota

           There's been a folk-dancing workshop for the last few years here. It started the year I arrived in Mayotte, and was under the name of the Bretons de Mayotte association. Now, it's led by a man who has lived all over France, travelled all over Africa, speaks eighteen languages such as Indonesian, Malagasy, Bislama, Dioula, Wolof, Mandarin Chinese, Tamil, Fulfulde and Quechua along with English, French, Italian and Portuguese, and who seems able to do anything from plaiting leaves to make... [Lire la suite]
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13 janvier 2014

Pink bags and blue boxes

            In Mayotte, people don't fret about big travel bags, careful packaging, luggage straps and padlocks. They don't worry about their big black case being indistinguishable from everybody else's big black cases on the luggage carousel. They don't bother repackaging their stuff so that it all fits nicely together. Quite the contrary. The ideal luggage here is ready to be transported, solid and re-usable upon arrival.                    ... [Lire la suite]
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