Tag Archives: jazz au phare

A Yacht a Piano and the Ile de Ré

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We get plenty of live music on the Ile de Ré.  This week it’s the annual Jazz Au Phare up at the Phare des Baleines lighthouse. Stanley Clarke is headlining. This summer we’ve also had live music from a yacht. The first day the Lady Flow  appeared in St Martin de Ré harbour I noticed there was something carefully covered up on deck.  A large rectangular object.  I never imagined it would be a piano.

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For a few days, twice daily, St Martin de Ré harbour echoed to the sounds of live music from the Lady Flow.  I kept walking down from our house to have a listen.  Pianocean as it’s called is a project that seems to carry some of the spirit of the love, peace and good music days of the mid 1970’s Radio Caroline when its ship was moored off the Dutch and then the English coast.

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Last year they sailed round the Mediterranean. This year it’s France’s Atlantic coast and Brittany. As well as songs written about their experiences on and offboard, we were treated to covers of Tom Waits and even Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit.

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While listening I kept thinking how do they do it?  How do they get the piano up on deck?  Maybe it was on a moving platform like the old cinema organs.  More likely it’s muscle and a rope.  Marieke, the singer, said the piano had been put in her cabin so they could record a CD on board.

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After St Martin de Ré ,the Lady Flow was sailing to La Rochelle for Francofolies. Details of future Pianocean venues are on their website. Apparantly they’ve pencilled in Antarctica for 2024!  Remaining ports of call this summer include Lorient, Le Crouesty, Vannes and Groix.

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Jazz on Ré

“Jimmy Cliff’s playing the Ile de Ré !”  It’s the kind of comment that makes you go “What?” However, it’s true, the man himself will be playing in the shadow of the island’s lighthouse this weekend.

Sadly we won’t be seeing Jimmy, but there is plenty of music just down the road from our house in St Martin de Ré.  We caught these guys just the other week. They are called Shadja and they are all local or from La Rochelle.

The band went down a treat with a glass of wine at  Le radeau de La Meduse.  This little bar and art gallery opened a few hundred metres from our house last year.

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Not only can you sit inside and enjoy the music close up, there’s the added bonus that you can be in Le radeau’s garden and still enjoy the band.  Live music in the open air in the summertime.  What’s not to like?

Our house is already booked through the Jazz au Phare festival but we still have availabilty for the end of August and early September. Check the calendar here.