Telegram sent on April 28, 2013 at 7:10 am
Moriarty on tour: acoustic concert in Mauritius (Indian Ocean) 04.03.2013.
Flying in from the Reunion Island, hopping above the unreal depths of the Indian Ocean, Mauritius comes into sight through clouds and lagoons: spiky moutains and rocky outcrops jutting out of the flat earth and sea, like the teeth and spikes of a buried dragon. Then the aircraft flies low and takes a hard bank turn to the right and we hang above endless fields of sugarcane, plantations once run by french masters and harvested by their slaves (later, we learn that the french had masters too, when the british conquered the island).
Telegram sent on April 22, 2013 at 7:30 am
Awakened at 5am by invisible tropical ants running through the house along microscopic lines, eating holes in the newspaper, crawling into the bed and the suitcases, biting the skin like hot embers. Later in the day, le K (named after Dino Buzzati’s sea creature?), open-air stage in the middle of the quiet seaside town of Saint-Leu. Soundcheck under the blazing sun, melting like butter on a roll. The roadies liquefied in the sweltering heat. After nightfall things cool off, a crowd fills up the arena in the dark. It’s the last concert on the island with Christine Salem and her musicians. Crazy energy builds up on some songs, Mikonépa and Sakalav’ and Black Betty and Dark Line In The Middle Of Hope. A passionate man in the audience comes to tell us how surprised he was to hear us singing a melody from Alain Peters’ Kaloubadia. It took him back in time, when as a kid he used to walk to school and find Peters hanging out by the side of the road, always on the same spot, often quite drunk, singing his poetry to whoever was willing to stop and listen. Sometimes he skipped class, feeling he would learn more by listening to such a man, or as they called Peters on the Reunion Island, “une planète”.
In the audience that night there’s also a woman whose job is to teach people how to fly: a few hours later we’re jumping from 800 meters onto the lagoon, hovering above the ravines like birds, silently observing from above as daily life unfolds in the courtyards of the kaz’kreoles. In the evening a dinner with Christine Salem turns into an improvised maloya session, kayambs and rouleur, and Eric beats on the pots and pans from the restaurant, and the songs go on like they would never end. But then suddenly it’s time to go and once again say goodbye to the Reunion. Nartrouv’ !
Moriarty on tour with Christine Salem: Le K, Saint-Leu, Ile de la Réunion (Indian Ocean) 02.03.2013.
Telegram sent on April 18, 2013 at 7:36 am
The coast is rough, strewn with driftwood and black basalt pebbles. Gigantic waves heaving and crashing on it, fierce and confident like the rougail dakatine from Ti Carri.
Up dans les hauts de Saint-Pierre, le Kerveguen is a strange building, unfinished, industrial, looking like a soviet factory. Inside the venue it feels like the engine room of a cargo, the sound is booming, echoing against concrete, electrical cables, ventilation ducts, artificial smoke, darkness.
Au coucher de soleil, the audience shows up, 450 people start filling up the room, packed. Someone warns us that the ventilation system is not working. Two lone fans on the wall desperately try to stir up the air, but without much effect. Sofy Mazandira opens the show, and the heat rises slowly. As we climb on stage the temperature is already nearing 40°c and keeps climbing. The audience is soaking wet, so are we. The instruments keep slipping out of tune. People are dancing to the maloya beats nevertheless, their clothes drenched in sweat. After an hour and a half of playing under these subtropical conditions, the oxygen gets rare. Headaches. Dizziness. Intense exhaustion. As we walk out of stage, Harry the percussionist, who has been jumping and laughing and shouting and pounding on the drums like a madman, suddenly drops to the floor, out of breath and almost out of consciousness. But the audience, unaware, is still mercilessly clapping and calling for an encore. Rosemary and Christine get back on stage and sing their duet, Lespwar, making it last till we get our senses back. We dedicate the final song to our downed fellow Harry, still knocked out by the gig.
Funny how the worst technical and material conditions give birth to the most intense, unforgettable concerts…
Later in the night we reach our home in Saint-Leu and literally dissolve into the moonlit dark waters of the lagoon, letting all the exhaustion wash away.
Moriarty on tour: Kerveguen, St-Pierre (Ile de la Réunion 01.03.2013)
Telegram sent on April 5, 2013 at 12:59 am
Early morning, a creole house nestled within the town of St-Gilles. Hidden
inside, a small television studio. Walls covered with vinyl records. Heat. For a program called Galigalang we perform “Isabella”, then “Black Betty/Sonlouval” with our friends Christine Salem and her percussionnists Harry & David on rouleur drum & piker. All nine musicians are compressed together on a tiny stage 3x3m. That’s less than 1 square meter per person, we’re playing shoulder against shoulder. But it works fine for the music somehow.
Moriarty on tour: Galigalang, St-Gilles Ile de la Réunion (Indian Ocean) 01.03.2013.
Telegram sent on March 31, 2013 at 5:03 am
Jet-lag. Body clock still tuned into Montreal time. Eyes wide open in the sweltering heat of an unknown room. 5:30am. Alien birdsongs outside, loud and intricate. Lift up the blinds. Palm trees, corrugated metal roofs, haze rising from the forests on the slopes of a rugged mountainside. Dawn is coming, the sky is quickly changing hues. Turn on the A/C and try to get back to sleep, hopelessly. 6:14am. In a split-second, a flash of golden light shoots through the window, casting a blinding square onto the bed, burning my bared legs instantly with a radiant heat. My confused brain thinks someone has turned on a powerful spotlight. It’s the sun shooting its first merciless ray over the crest of the Cirque de Cilaos. A few minutes later I’m roaming through the empty streets of Saint-Leu, along the deserted beach, breathing in the early morning silence. A lone man with a metal detector wallows through the lagoon waist-deep, looking for unlikely treasures. On the main road, next to a crumbling rusty creole shack, fruit stores open their stalls, overflowing with mangues josé, victoria pineapples, dragon fruit, combava lemons – fuel for the next gigs. At the Rondavelle by the seafront, a strong morning breeze starts blowing from the Southeast.
We reach the Palaxa venue in the afternoon, Rosemary and Christine are undergoing an interview outside by the great banian tree. We rehearse a few songs with Harry and David, trying hard to adjust to their maloya beat. Mikonépa, Sakalav, Black Betty…
Sold-out show tonight.
Moriarty on tour: St-Denis, Ile de la Réunion (Indian Ocean) 28.02.2013.
Telegram sent on March 30, 2013 at 1:30 pm
Oté Koman y lé? Re-uniting with the island and its music. Christine Salem and her musicians Harry and David welcome us to St-Denis; just an hour after landing we’re already set to rehearse with them on stage inside the Palaxa, a venue tucked into an old factory facing the Ocean. Our drummer Eric locks into the maloya rythm, the roulèr bass drum resounds, the kayamb percussion roars, the iron picker ticks its ternary six-beat, hopping and hiccuping like shaking hips. As night falls Tom drives the van as we head to our home in St-Leu, driving along the old familiar -yet always jaw-dropping- sights: seaside cemetaries, roads wedged between the cliffs and the raging ocean, shallow lagoons. Around midnight the island is silent and we fall asleep, jet-lagged and exhausted, to the distant roar of the waves crashing against the coral reef.
Moriarty on tour: Palaxa, Saint-Denis, Île de la Réunion (Indian Ocean) 26-27.02.2013.
Telegram sent on March 30, 2013 at 9:30 am
Sunday morning in Montréal, say farewell to the snow-caked sidewalks, leaping over ponds of muddy slush from Mont-Royal to Avenue Laurier. Sunshine melts the icicles away from the high-pitched roofs, but we won’t have time to watch them stab the ground. Hop on a cab to Trudeau Airport and 48 hours later we’re flying over eastern Africa, bound for the Southern hemisphere. From the aft port-hole at the back of the sleeping 777, we watch the sun rise over the mountains of Ethiopia, between Lalibela and Addis-Abeba. A few hours later we’re stepping out into the volcanic tropical heat of the Reunion Island, a 50 degrees thermal shock after the canadian winter, our frozen skin learning to sweat again.
Moriarty on tour: Montréal-Réunion 24-26.02.2013.
Telegram sent on March 12, 2013 at 8:15 am
Titanic iron-truss bridges across the Saint-Laurent river, trailing a broken ice mantle. Arthur drives the van -packed with amplifiers, a double-bass, a drumkit, five guitars, twenty harmonicas and all the Moriarty family- across slippery highways, down to Sherbrooke. Suburban feel, brickhouses, wide roads, telephone poles, all silent under the falling snow. Tonight we play in a brewery across the road from the Granada Theatre in which we performed last july. In the basement there’s a sturdy animal smell of fermented organic matter. We store our gear among bags of malt and stainless steel cisterns. Tour-mates Lily Frost and her musicians join us in the tiny office turned into a dressing-room, and we learn about the mysterious existence of merkins. As night falls the brewery fills up with a few hundred people but we have to wait for the hockey match airing on TV to end before we can start the show (apparently that’s a customary canadian/québecois ritual). By the middle of the set a troupe of thirty people stand up from their seats and start dancing and singing in front of the stage, humming along the old cajun song “Je me suis réveillé un matin de May” like the crew of a drifting ship. The atmosphere is heated up but unfortunately we have to pack everything up and depart in a hurry, to get back to Montreal before dawn – it’s a long, slow, eerie drive under the ever-falling snow, along a desert white highway, Arthur and Sébastien holding the wheel until we reach our abode on Place du Mont-Royal at 3:30am.
Moriarty on tour: Boquébière, Sherbrooke, Québec, february 2013.
Telegram sent on March 6, 2013 at 12:00 am
It was a cold sunny day. The slush melted in the curbs. The Cabaret Lion d’Or looked as dark and magnificent as four years ago on our first concert in Montreal. The crowd came at the last minute, filling up the former clandestine bar to the brim. At the balcony a mixed crowd of français and québecois looked on and cheered like crazy. Meanwhile, at the Quai des Brumes at the corner of Mont-Royal and Saint-Denis, a band covered “Jimmy” in their Pogues-influenced version – while we were simultaneously singing it. Univers parallèles.
Moriarty on tour: sold-out concert au Cabaret Lion d’Or, 1676 Ontario, Montréal, Québec. 22.02.13.
Telegram sent on February 27, 2013 at 1:00 pm
Moriarty on tour: Montréal, Québec, february 21st 2013. Long walks across Mile End, under the snow, frozen noses, wind slaps our faces like a giant whip, wet feet from the sloche, looking for the Maisonnette recording studio, where Lhasa recorded her last album. Learning winter survival in Montréal.