09 février 2015

Still playing.

                   On January 24th, we had our Annual Fest-Noz. With capital letters. It's a huge and terrifyingly-organized evening centred around Breton music and dancing, it needs so much work put into it that there is only one per year (compared to several per week in every region of mainland France) and it attracts a disproportionate number of people of which about a fifth come from Brittany. This year, it was held in a room which is half covered by roof, half exposed to... [Lire la suite]

23 juin 2014

Les Bigoudènes En Folie

                           It's tyre-racing time.  The Bretons of Mayotte have two teams, one all-female, one all-male. The leader of the Bretons works in the police station and usually manages to rope in a team of policemen/women. He'd managed it last year, and had seemed to manage it this year as well. He'd asked me if I wanted to take part again, and I'd said yes please, and I have a friend who'd like to run as well. He therefore left two spaces in... [Lire la suite]
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16 juin 2014


            I've been playing quite a bit of music recently.                  On May 31st, I was roped in to play "film music", which was a new one for me. Mostly cartoon themes such as Some Day My Prince Will Come, Popeye or The Bare Necessities, but the odd tune from films such as The Sting or Black Cat White Cat. The idea was to videoproject extracts from films and cartoons, and play the theme tunes live at the same time. This required quite a... [Lire la suite]
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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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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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11 novembre 2013

Breton Rock

                     I've been playing quite a bit of music recently. You see, a group I'd never met and I were hired for a "Breton rock concert" at a bar. We were hired on Sunday. The concert was to be on the following Friday. The group was already formed, and I was supposed to join it just for this concert. This got off the ground because I happened to know one of the musicians. Out of six musicians, only two had ever played rock before. Two others were classical musicians,... [Lire la suite]
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08 juillet 2013

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

                                Rules for the Tyre Race. Wear the official Tyre Race t-shirt while racing. Collect one number sign per team the week before the race. This number sign will be necessary to collect the remaining number signs for each team. Without the first number sign, the team will not be able to race. Pin your number sign on the front of said Tyre Race t-shirt at chest height. The soap used to grease the tyre must be that given... [Lire la suite]
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01 juillet 2013

Practising for the Grand Tyre Race

         About two weeks ago, the lady in charge of the Bretons of Mayotte Association sent a collective e-mail out, asking for people to become "ambassadors" for the tyre race which was to take place on the 29th of June. I responded, asking what would be involved, and she obviously transferred my e-mail on to the guy in charge of the Breton tyre-racing team because the next thing I knew, I was told that the only difficult thing about the race would be running with your arms together to hold the tyre... [Lire la suite]
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25 février 2013

Pretty Yellow Flowers

          Yesterday, I went with the association I play music for to a farming establishment which I'd heard about before, because one of the owners has a stall at the big monthly market where she sells fruit, vegetables, juice, jam, ylang-ylang essential oil and vanilla. She's married to a Mahorese man named Fouadi, and they cultivate everything they sell. Every Sunday, they organise visits of the farm, where you can come and see how they cultivate and distil the ylang-ylang flowers to obtain essential oil... [Lire la suite]
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04 février 2013

It's a hard knock life.

          Last Sunday, the music group (as always oh-so-elegantly named The Blue Mango) and I went to a barbecue on the beach, organized by the Bretons of Mayotte. An excuse to get together as much as anything, go swimming, have some fun and have something to eat.                                   And eat we did: mabawas (chicken wings - you know that one by now), chicken and beef kebabs, fried green bananas,... [Lire la suite]
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