I spent a memorable evening at Cabaret Pat’Jaune, learning about the culture of the Highlands with a group of extraordinary musicians.
This evening, we’re heading to Plaine-des-Cafres, in the island’s highlands. We’re expected by Pat’Jaune, one of the most famous traditional Reunion music groups. The joyful team opened their own cabaret up there, all the better to share their authentic culture with their fans.
When we arrive Pat’Jaune greet us in person. Their look is all their own: felt hats, wide braces and white shirts. They invite us to enter their lair, both intimate venue and table d’hôte. This evening forty or so of us lucky people have come to appreciate their creations which are not only musical!
First of all we take our place at a long table for a typical aperitif: samosas and “bonbons-piments” which are already making my mouth water, punch and seasonal fruit juices. Cabaret Pat’Jaune means friendliness in every sense of the word, sharing good food, good humour and music that comes from the heart.
The show starts soon. The three Gonthier brothers – Bernard, François, Michel – and their accomplice Claudine take us on a journey back in time into the history of Reunion Island. Guitar, bass, violin and percussion, old European dances laced with the rhythms of the islands: Pat’Jaune’s style is quite captivating, full of tenderness and humour.
Delicious smells emanate from the kitchen, the musicians announce the first gourmet interval and invite us back into the dining room. Chicken cari and andouillette rougail, simmered on a wood fire are waiting on the table next to rice dishes, pois du Cap and the ubiquitous tomato rougail.
Pat Jaune join us, start up a conversation and discussions get animated. We learn all about the culture of “Petits Blancs des Hauts” (Little White Highlanders), just one part of the fabulous Reunion mix, for which the Plaine-des-Cafres quartet have became flamboyant ambassadors.
What with the skits and songs, Creole dishes and crazy laughter, I don’t notice the time passing on this joyful and moving evening, which gave me a hands on experience of the Creole spirit.
“Alcohol abuse is dangerous for your health. To be consumed in moderation”