India On Bullet

A musical journey on the Silk Route

YES ! We are back !

photo arrivé gp

The first part of this musical journey on the Silk Route was ending on this saturday.
Thanks to all of you for this wonderful day, exciting and emotional. Thanks to all of you who supported us, and still supporting us. A short break, and back on this project, now a lot to do ! Next step : production !

Stay tuned, keep following, keep sharing, news coming soon….

And here is a short movie of our arrival !

A morning with a Gypsys community !

Here some images of the morning we spent in the slum of the Gyspy crew Kesaj Tchave that we’ve been recording the 31st of May afternoon. For those who know India, you’ll feel being there !

Back on our experience in Belgrad-Serbia

He we are, in Kermarok in the Karpatt, eastern part of slovakia. A part of the country where there are a lot of Gypsies, it’s even majority for some villages.

Quick flash back on our time in Belgrade a few days ago.

The recording that we had in mind with the Syrians/Irakians refugees didn’t happen. Belgrade is a crossing point on their route to the north, it is then impossible to plan something in advance. Some would stay for a few days, others only a few hours. We went to the camp with our friend Naned, Oud player, and our translator in Arabic languages Yusri, in order to gather some singers !
A few children were there, most of them were kind of lost… Arrived the day before from the border Macedonia/Sebia, where some of their family are still stuck. Question of smugglers, money… On the road for months, those children are exhausted, even worst as they can’t get a proper and healthy nutrition. In this camp they try to rest as much as possible, charge batteries, and eat properly. From 2 to 15 years old, the youngest ones don’t understand what’s happening, don’t have any idea of where they are. They follow their parents, walk, and survive.
The translator introduce us and our Oud player in order to see if some children would be interested to think about a song with Naned, to practice, to sing and play some music.
No one seems to be up to. White people, cameras… They seem to be a bit shy. We’ve spent the afternoon with them, talked with older ones, shared our respectives experiences, touching stories… They have their mind full, they don’t where they will be tomorrow, next week, next months. Where will they eat? Where will they sleep? Not any idea… At that time, we just forget our project of recording, put camera and microphones in our bag. Now feel better to discuss, listen, share, laugh…
An afternoon in a refugees camp, an unforgettable human experience.

The seventh recording will then be with the Kesaj Tchave « children of Fairy Kesaj » in Gypsy, a crew funded by Ivan Akimov. With his wife, they roam around slums of the eastern part of Slovakia to find young talents. Those Roms childen live in poverty and social exclusion.

Check out this report about them :

Capture d’écran 2016-05-30 à 21.29.27

We are in Europe !

We left you at Azerbaïjan where we were beginning our way through to Georgia.

We had to fix the mechanical problem on Sylvain’s bike. As it isn’t easy to find parts for these kind of bikes, we were lucky to have Rana, our savior in New Delhi who sent us the missing elements that had to be changed. Two weeks stuck in the capital city Tbilissi enabled us to explore the town and also to get a bus and spend a few days in the neighboring country : Armenia.

DSC01933  meca

It was time to leave the country and enter Turkey. Our first destination was Van, a town situated in the extreme east of the country, on the oriental side of the lake where the majority of the population is kurd. The students association of the Yüzüncü Yil de Van were expecting us for the fifth recording with disadvantaged children from neighboring villages for whom they provide clothing and various schooling items.

enregistrement Van groupe  enre van

We then travelled 1700kms to reach Istanbul. Four long days of riding through wind, sun, rain or even hailstorms.

After having crossed the Bosphorus, we are now officially back on european soil ! We managed to record the sixth title for the album with children from the armenian Hrant Dink school in Istanbul. This school offers free education for refugees having come there in the hope of a better way of life. To this day, Istanbul has 60000 armenians living in the city. The children performed a beautiful traditional song for us, singing a capella in the quarter’s church.

photo-groupe-enr-arménien enfants qui chantent

prof-de-dos  eglise vide

Quick summary of our travels, it’s been a rush at the moment with the preparation for the next recordings and also the different events that will be ongoing once we reach our home country.

We try to give you more news very soon !

Stay tuned !

Best of Central Asia

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The pictures speak for themselves…

Good viewing ! :-)

Crossing Caspian Sea from Aktaou (Kazakhstan) to Baku (Azerbaïjan)

We had read the worst things on internet about this crossing… Lack of information, long time expecting a ship (from 2 to 15 days), unfindable tickets, irritable staff…

Fortunately, our kazakh host named Aigerim will be by our sides to help us through the tough procedures. English is not commonly spoken in these ex-URSS countries. It’s therefore with him by our sides that we make our way to the centre of Aktaou.

The first step was to make our way to the center of town so we could buy tickets that would open for us the passage way into Azerbaïdjan. In the space of 15min, we had the tickets in our pockets but without any mention of the day or time of departure.
The next step was to get to the Aktaou harbor to begin the procedures of getting through customs with our bikes. Hundreds of cars trucks lined up in the car park.
We strolled along from office to office and it eventually took 4 hours to get our boarding passes.

When will be able to leave this country ?
Tomorrow, the day after, in 3 days or next week? No way to be sure and no one to help us out !
On the advice of staff members, Aigerim will have to keep his phone close by in case of a sudden departure…Only 2 hours after the signal has been given.

We have to make our way to the harbor as fast as possible, the boat will be leaving at 8:30am
Bags tied up, we mount our bikes and steered our way towards the port. When we arrive, the ferry is nowhere to be seen and no information is being given to us. We guess communication isn’t the strong point in the post-soviet community !
We finally board around 6pm in a ramschackle boat and set up camp in a tiny foul smelling cabin with a small porthole. We will not go into the details of the sanitary equipment. We know we will have to live with these conditions for a good 36 hours.

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The azeris boat crew were all for explaining to us the different navigation skills and tell us we will arrive in Bakou the next day around 11pm.
We finally end up being told our boat will acost 80km away from Bakou, the capital… Nice !

We leave the boat only after having gotten our passports back. 36 hours of navigation, it’s 1am. We set foot on the ground once more.
Welcome to Azerbaïdjan.
There is still waiting to do. Customs to go through yet again. They only allow us 2 days on azerbaïdjan soil even though our transit visas are valid for 5 days. It’s 3 am, we try to get extra information but the official wants to hear nothing.
We give up fast, at this time in the early morning we think it best to avoid confrontation.
Freedom !
We leave the harbor and head for the first petrol station to fill up. We end up remaining the night before setting off for Georgia.

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Magic Samarkand !

Situated at the crossing of the biggest routes between the western and eastern worlds, Samarkand is one of the main legs of the Silk Route.
This stage is defined by the passage of caravans that transported thousands of riches through the town, making it very wealthy. You can see many wonders of architecture, of which the Registan is the most famous. It is a huge esplanage surrounded by three sumptuous medersas with gigantic gates and a beautiful mosque.

DSC01425     rogiston 1 logo
It is in this exact location that we made our most amazing musical discovery. Bobir Sharipov, musician, instrument maker and specialisist of ouzbek traditionnal music. He showed us many of his works including the rubob, his instrument of predilection with which he began playing music as a child.

babur 1 logo     babur 4 logo
These last days we have spent traversing the Karakalpaksan desert of Ouzbekistan. Our visas were only valid for 15 days which meant we had to be out the country before the 14th of april.
We travelled 1000kms through nothingness with only three towns breaking the path of emptiness since Boukhara. 10 hour days of punishing riding on roads in disrepair, and that is without mentionning the numerous small breakdowns which we had to deal with by the roadside through painful sandstorms.

nous saut    nous panne
Presently, we are in Aktay (Kazakhstan) on the edge of the Caspian sea. This morning we recorded a traditionnal kazakh song in an orphanage and are now awaiting the ferry to reach Baku, the capital city of Azerbaidjan.

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Here is an overview of the route that we did from Bishkek in Kyrghyzstan.


On the road to Uzbekistan !

Thursday, March 31 st, we have finally obtained our visas for Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan.
We are on our way, the bags are strapped to our bikes and it’s under pouring rain that we leave Bishkek to reach the Uzbek border 500km away.
It’s beginning to climb severely, while the temperature only goes downwards. No breathing difficulties but our engines are feeling the burn of altitude. We are reaching the first summet named Tôô-Asuu at 3596m, the scenery is amazing, snow as far as we can see but the roads remain clear.
The night begins to fall, we begin the descent and cut straight through the snowed up mountains. It definitely feels like we are on some foreign planet.
Snowflakes begin to fall and the cold slowly seeps it’s way into ou skin. We find refuge in a very small cabon in a village named Otmok where only scarce lorry drivers lay their heads down for the night. When we wake the next morning, there are 10cm of snow covering our bikes. The road seems clear enough but we have a big mountain pass to traverse, another 3184m to climb !

DSC01166     Vue route montage BSK-OSH

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The road winds in and out for miles upon miles. We accelerate as much as possible during the descents and then get locked down from 70km/h to 20km/h in only a few meters. Progress gets sluggish…
When we reach the Uzbek border at the end of the afternoon, we decide to spend the night. A welcoming local family let’s us plant our tent in their back garden.
Every stop we make is a pretext to meet new people, and each time we don’t miss the opportunity of a photograph and glimpsing the smiles of everyone around us.

DSC01191      villageois route Bishkek-Osh 2
We wake at 6:30am the next morning to pass the border. We had been warned it might take hours to get through. On the Kyrgyz side, all is fine. A simple stamp on our passports to leave their territory. We are now in the 1km stretch of no man’s land to reach the Uzbek border. One massive fence awaits us up ahead and a dozen military officers join the party.
They open the doors. Passport and a whole load of papers to fill out for the bikes. They ask to search through our bags. One officer asks to check the contence of our cameras. They are looking for drugs, medicines containing codein or pornographic images. Then, finally, after a good 3 hours of waiting, we reach Uzbek soil.
The Uzbeks, as welcoming as ever, prove to us their hospitality on our very first night with this family. It’s almost 6pm, on the edge of a small village where we would like to spend the night. A few sign language gestures, eye contact, and then signs which obviously meant “come over to sleep at our place”. And that we did !
Communication isn’t easy but we spend a wonderful evening. We have trouble leaving the next day.
Everyone invites us for tea or to share a meal. It promises good times for the rest of Uzbekistan up ahead …

chai chez l'habitant     dodo chez l'habitant

Currently in Tashkent, the capital, we are planning the fourth recording in an orphanage.

National day of Norouz

Our Turkmenistan visa has been refused a second time without any reason.  When we ask to the embassy ” Why our application has been rejected ?” , they answer by “We can’t say, and we don’t have to justify anything !”.
Turkmenistan is a closed country and it’s hell to cross it. We found out that 25 to 50% of visa applications are usually rejected.
We had to find another way. From Uzbekistan, we will reach the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan to take the ferry from Aktou to Azerbaijan.

Still in Bishkek, we are waiting for our Azeri visa.


On the 21st of march is the spring equinox. In Kyrgyzstan and all the ex Soviet Republic, we celebrate Nowruz. In Bishkek, the festival takes place on a hippodrome in the morning and on the Ala-Too place in the afternoon. We’ve been invited by our Kyrgyz friend, Sedep, to enjoy the equestrian traditions.

Thousands of Kyrgyz around the racecourse, watching horse races, eagle hunting, archery, or the most incredible one, the bouzkachi !
It’s basically a collectif sport, and two teams meet on the ground. At the beginning we were expecting a sport similar to the polo.
Not at all.. This was more like american football, but running on a horse. AND, the originality is that instead of a ball, it is a goat carcass which has right been beheaded ! Yes…

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That’s it for our last days.. In a bit, we’ll hit the road toward Uzbekistan !

First steps in Central Asia

After a 3h30 flight, here we are, in Kyrgyzstan !

Let’s have an overlook of the region before to hit the road…
In the heart of Central Asia, between China, Uzbekistan, Kazakstan and Tradjikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic is populated originally by nomads. Today there are 5,8 millions habitants.

Kyrgyzstan is an ex republic of the URSS that got indépendant in 1991. Two languages are spoken here, Kyrgyz and Russian, although, Russian is the most spoken in the capital. The main religion is Sunni Islam and the currency is the SOM.

As soon as out of the airport, we have a first look of Bishkek. Nicolas, a Canadian expatriate will host us for the first week.
Incredible to see that not any dog is roaming on the side walk, we don’t hear any horn, we don’t feel any dust in our eyes, people are very quiet. Huge feeling coming from India and Nepal, we feel like having crossed two worlds.

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Saturday 5th of March, we have a meeting at the Alliance Française in Bishkek where we share a workshop about our project with people studying french. That’s the Al Kapak national day, which the the day of the traditional Kyrgyz hat. The main square, Ala-Too is crowded of men wearing it.


DSC00660                              DSC00657

Time to reach Orlovka, a little countryside town at the eastern part of the country, about 100kms from the capital. The 35 children of the Nurmeaisa Orphanage warmly welcome us. We’re gonna record the third track of the album at the foot of the mountain by a wonderful blue sky, along with an old accordion player and Komouz, the traditional three string instrument. We spend two unforgettable days over there, a lot of fun and a lot of foods ! Oh ! That was also a surprise here. Kyrgyz people use to eat four times a day and always so much meat ! Breakfast, lunch, first dinner à 6PM, and a barbecue à 10PM…

photo groupe enregistrement - copie

gros plan fille - copie                                Komouz - copie

Back in bishkek. The mission is now to get back our motorbikes. Aibek, the Nicolas’s flatmate comes with us in order to make all this paperwork easier. English isn’t not that much spoken in Kyrgyzstan.

At the airport, we walk toward the Turkish Airlines desk where a friendly woman confirms that the bikes are well arrived. Ouf ! She shows us this green building where our Royal Enfield are waiting for us.

Desk after desk, office after office, we might have talked to more than fifty people, roaming is this large area. One of the custom agents ask Aibek some dollars from us if we want to pick up our goods. We answer straight away no!, explain him our project and our tight budget. This is 8 hours later that we are able to give a kick start on our two wheels, a pretty nice feeling of freedom ! Of course we ended up by paying some money. The bill is 250€ for a dangerous material storage… blablabla…

Everything goes fast, we have now a meeting in an indian restaurant to do an interview for a national TV program. We might get the podcast in april only.

itw2         itw1

Currently waiting for our Turkmen visa which has been rejected in New Delhi. Fingers crossed..

After that we will finally start to hit the road, ride across mountains, lakes.. toward the West !

Mathieu & Sylvain

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