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]
22 septembre 2014

Here we go again...

                      This time, it all started with a football match. Majicavo and Kawéni, two neighbouring villages, were playing against each other. Majicavo was winning 3 - 0 when the referee gave a player a yellow card instead of the red card he should have given him. The supporters exploded and everyone went wild. The colour of the card was just a pretext: the two rival villages have hated each other for years, so the two gangs were overjoyed to have a reason to... [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 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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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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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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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]