In 1975, Belgian singer, songwriter, actor and director Jacques Brel, dropped anchor in Atuona Bay at the island of Hiva Oa in the Marquesas archipelago. Looking to withdraw from public life following a cancer diagnosis, he had embarked on a sailing trip around the world. As the painter Paul Gauguin had done nearly 80 years before him, Brel chose this remote paradise to live out his days. A legend in Europe for a career that spanned 3 decades, he became better known to American audiences through successful tours during the 60’s, performing twice at Carnegie Hall. His songs, many of which were translated into English, include “If you go away” (Ne me quitte pas),”The dove” (La colombe) and “Seasons in the sun” (Le moribond) and have been recorded by artists, ranging from Frank Sinatra and Nina Simone, to Joan Baez and the Beach Boys, to Terry Jacks and Nirvana. Though his time in the Marquesas was brief, passing away in 1978, Brel is remembered fondly by the locals for his contributions to the various communities. He, with the use of his private plane, “JoJo” which now sits in the Jacques Brel Museum in Atuona, would provide transport of food and other supplies to the inhabitants of the neighboring islands. As per his wishes, he is buried in Calvary Cemetery, overlooking Atuona Bay, a few yards away from Gauguin’s final resting place.
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Jacques Brel’s passing, Aranui Cruises will dedicate Voyage 6, April 17 – 30, as a special themed cruise in his honor. Patrick Baton, lecturer and musician emeritus, will be Aranui 5’s distinguished guest on this 2018 sailing.
Conductor, Professor of Orchestral Conducting at the Royal Conservatory of Music of Liege, Patrick Baton is a graduate in Philosophy and Literature form the University of Liege. Considered one of the most knowledgeable experts on the works of Jacques Brel, he has published frequently on that subject and participates in many events, seminars and international conferences.
In addition to Mr. Baton, Ed Rampell, an L.A. based full-time freelance writer and author, will be a guest lecturer during this voyage.
A contributor to multiple major television and print outlets in the U.S. and a graduate in Cinema from Manhattan’s Hunter College, Mr. Rampell will discuss Jacques Brel’s life in the Marquesas, his career as an actor and his music genre as a master of the school of French songs called “Chanson”, through performances from the musical “Jacques Brel is alive and well and living in Paris”.
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