06 juillet 2015

La Mangue Bleue

                  The Blue Mango now has t-shirts.                
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13 avril 2015

Versailles and Vienna

                You might vaguely remember these posters. The music school organized a concert at the beginning of February whose theme was "the Royal Celebrations of Versailles". It was such a success - the first classical concert of the year, so 250 people came - that the university centre in Mayotte bought the concert too. We repeated the concert in the university amphitheatre at the end of last month. I don't think I've ever made so big a mess of a concert, and I wasn't the only one.... [Lire la suite]
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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]
21 juillet 2014

The Blue Mango Strikes Again

                 Last week, we had a going-away party for two members of the Blue Mango... party during which we learned that a third member was also leaving next month, so we had another going-away party on Friday, where we actually convinced the restaurant owner to close his restaurant to all other people. As it's Ramadan period at the moment, he doesn't serve very many people per night, just fifteen or so. I'd told him that I could bring fifteen people, and could we play music and... [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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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]
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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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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