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]
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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09 décembre 2013

Notre Dame de Fatima

                   The last big classical concert we had in Mayotte was with the Nomad Baroque group who had come for a few days to play. They had invited the music school classical orchestra as well as several other musicians to play with them, including me. This time, it was OUR concert. I remember playing in churches before as a music school pupil, along with all the other music school pupils, but this was the first time I took part in a concert as a professional musician. ... [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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23 septembre 2013

National Horse Day.

              Yesterday was National Horse Day. No, I hadn't heard of it before either. The one and only horse-riding club in Mayotte had put balloons up everywhere and was having a field day, showing off its good pupils and taking kids for rides on small ponies. It's quite a big place, actually, with a big paddock and apparently ten horses, of which we saw four. All the kids who were going anywhere near a horse had helmets, jodhpurs, boots and whips, which surprised me for Mayotte. Then again,... [Lire la suite]
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22 juillet 2013

The Blue Mango Strikes Again

           On Friday, the musicians had a party at one musician's house including all musicians and dancers. I think everyone had a good time, there was certainly a lot of dancing going on. On Saturday, we planted ourselves in the middle of the monthly farmer's market to play together. The reason for these photos and festivities involving the Blue Mango was the departure of Laurence, our violinist, who has finished her 4-year contract and who is now on her way to Angoulême, where she will be a... [Lire la suite]
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04 mars 2013

Aria Sopra la Bergamasca

                    That was fun. I hadn't played in a "real" concert for ages. The sort of concert where you're in a church, everybody on stage is dressed in black and the atmosphere is very serious. You're not supposed to laugh, cough, say anything or even look anywhere except at your sheet music or your fellow musicians. Performers and audience all hastily clear their throats and take photos between movements or pieces. I love it. The main music-related events I've played at... [Lire la suite]
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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