01 décembre 2014

The Fashion Salon

                          The Fashion Salon was last weekend. Not usually the type of event I go for, but there are few enough events of any sort in Mayotte for me to try and go to the ones there are. On Saturday evening, there was the fashion show and competition. Every year, they organize a competition around one particular type of material. Two years ago, it was Mahorese chiromani, a type of material often worn by ladies here. Last year, it was jute.... [Lire la suite]
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16 juin 2014

Music

            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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08 mai 2014

Salouva Deba

          Most Mahorese women dress in a salouva, which is a big cotton tube knotted around the chest and which falls down to the feet. Underneath the salouva, they usually wear a sparkly t-shirt, or one with artistically cut-out pieces made to resemble flowers or geometrical shapes. The most traditional ladies - generally the older ones - also wear a skirt underneath, which has a recognizable jagged bottom made of lace. The traditional Mahorese salouva is worn with a kishali on the head or over one... [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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28 octobre 2013

Wedding Dances

         Last Saturday, something rather exceptional happened. The Blue Mango, my music group, is followed around by the Dancing Lizards, who are a group of folk dancers who come to all our concerts to dance. One of these dancers is a Comorian lad called Halidi, nicknamed Tony to make him sound Western. And on last Saturday, he invited us all to his cousin's wedding. Weddings in Mayotte aren't as exclusive as weddings in Europe. Generally, the whole village is invited, and each guest is free to invite... [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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10 décembre 2012

Mont Combani

          The day P left, we had a concert planned in the evening at the Gîte du Mont Combani. We were all rather shattered, as we'd all had fairly long days, but we got together in the late afternoon and went up to the gîte together. It's quite a trek, even in the car, because the track is particularly bumpy and muddy. Francis, Laurence and I went together in his car, Franck followed on his motorbike until the chain came off in the bumps, then we made him go ahead to supervise him for a bit. We arrived... [Lire la suite]
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03 décembre 2012

Saying Goodbye to Philippe

            Before P left, we had a party with the music group and the dancers to say goodbye. Every two weeks, the main dancer holds a dance workshop at his home, where anyone who so wishes can turn up and learn a few traditional dancers. Usually, a couple of musicians from the group turn up as well - whoever's available, really, not usually P and I because it's a bit far away. This time, we rescheduled the workshop so that everybody could be there. We played the pieces we felt like playing, rather... [Lire la suite]
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12 novembre 2012

Dancing on Tanaraki

                     The friends we had over during the holidays were a girl my age and her mother, both of whom we'd met while doing a musical exchange between our Poitiers folk group and theirs, near the Puy du Fou in the Vendée region. So to keep them busy, we decided to take them dancing one morning. At 9 a.m. By 30°C, on a beach called Tanaraki. We met up with Francis and a few dancers on the beach and started playing for them. The dance leader didn't seem to take... [Lire la suite]
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15 octobre 2012

The Second Annual Folk Ball

                           We held our Second Annual Folk Ball in Mamoudzou at the end of September. Good fun, and much better organized than the first time. The first time we tried to do this, there were three different groups : Philippe and I, called "Philem", the group I showed you a while ago, called "Folkylang", and a group composed of various musicians from all areas, called "La Mangue Bleue". We played one after the other, danced quite a bit, but didn't do... [Lire la suite]
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