So the decision was taken, we are going to do a road trip from France all the way to Turkey, while going through different countries of Eastern Europe. We started putting on paper our ideas. This helped us construct better our intentions, our itinerary and finding information, we realized not possessing. I don’t remember exactly, but I think we started writing about it sometime in January (something like a New Years' resolution...)
When travelling, usually the way to meet people is in public transportation or in inns, hotels and bed & breakfasts. As we would be on our own in our cosy van, we thought it was necessary to find a way to bring us in interaction with the population of these different countries.
Taking into account that our knowledge of the languages spoken in this region is quiet limited; we listed at least 13 different ones, we gathered that we may need another way of communication. It didn’t take us a long time to conclude that music could provide us the way to dialogue and get to know the other one.
Olivier has been playing guitar for 20 years already. I have started learning to play saxophone recently, since January 2008. For both of us, music is important and definitely a vehicle to transmit values, ideas and a way to reunite people of different cultures and with different backgrounds.
As the weeks and months went by, we documented ourselves and continued refining our written document. We started talking about it to the people around us giving us each time more and more ideas and advices.
Ones it was settled that music will be the metaphor; it became relevant to decide what our intentions were exactly. We were not focusing on a specific kind of music (rock, traditional, rap, etc.), but rather open to the opportunities that will present to us. For us it is important to show the diversity in the different countries. Hear music and get to know musicians that perform on the streets, in bars and also in concerts. Music played by young as well as old people. We do not exclude any kind of music, but we will not be looking either for any particular one.
As I have taken up the studies again, to obtain a French university degree, I didn’t have a lot of time to contact people. Olivier has contacted most of the people. He also did most of the research from a technical perspective. Olivier found a recording device that will enable us to record the music. After gathering information from a producer in Belgium, it became clear that we needed external microphones and an equipment of better quality; otherwise the recordings will be useless. After requesting for a quote of a specialized music store, we realized that our project was turning into a high budget operation (last estimate amounts to 23.187 Euros).
Even though we were planning to finance as much as possible, some things became unaffordable. We wanted to be able to produce a music compilation in a form of a CD. The CD will be our support that enables us to give something back to the artist we meet during our trip, but also showing people in France and everywhere else the outcome of our trip. In order to minimize the costs we plan in producing the CD ourselves, but a good recording quality seemed essential. It was then that we decided to think this time about our main objectives with the project and to look for possibilities to request for financial aid.
To this date we requested financial help from the following foundations; Guilde du Raid, The Salabert Foundation, The Dutch Embassy in France, Ford Foundation. While requesting financial aid from the different funds, our project became more and more constructed. We are anxiously waiting for the results.
The studies I am following at the University are very much focussed on remediating the exclusion in the French society. Different initiatives of the government and of civil society are rising to provide an alternative (job) to people that are excluded from the job market. Exclusion from culture or cultural activities is also a current issue the French society needs to deal with. Therefore we decided to bring back something from this trip that we can transmit to people living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Olivier came up with the idea to organize a musical exhibit. With the digital camera, we purchased recently we plan to make nice pictures and at our return have them framed. During the exhibit the music recorded during our trip will be playing.
We already found places in the southwest region of France (the cities called Bayonne and Pau) that could host this musical exhibit at our return.
At a certain moment I realized that our project cannot be 100% French.
If we want it to serve intercultural values, it must be understandable to others, who do not speak French. My friend and translator Paige Mitchel provided us the service to translate the document originally written in French into English. We were very pleased with her timely services and her professionalism. You can find all information on her website and contact her if any translation services are required. www.languagesabroad.com/translation