I attended the most incredible concert on Reunion Island: in a solidified lava tunnel, under the volcano! An original way to combine cultural and natural discoveries
Julien is a bit different from other outdoor activity guides. Trained in pot-holing to guide visitors through the lava tubes which form a network of tunnels under the volcano, he had the idea of adding a very original touch of culture to his trips by inviting along some musician friends.
We meet on the volcanic lava flow from 2004, which created a particularly spectacular long lava tube. Wearing helmets and headlamps, we are joined by a quartet laden with traditional instruments: Reunion style percussion, a balafon played expertly by Jacky, with Rasta dreads and a broad smile!
In a lava tube
Descending into a lava tube is quite fascinating. For a good kilometre, following Julien, we admire the unique environment. The walls sometimes seem to made of melted chocolate; elsewhere, the light from our headlamps makes the coloured crystal inclusions in the volcanic rock sparkle. Everywhere we look, amazing almost organic shapes loom, which could only have been produced by the lava.
When we reach a small cave, the roof pierced by the roots of plants from an outside world which already seems so far away, Julien asks us to turn off our lamps. We find ourselves in the pitch black and almost complete silence, broken only by the noise of drops of water from the surface: they seem to set the tempo for the upcoming concert!
The first notes erupt in the dark, the Creole rhythms soon fill the lava cave, the most incredible stage! We let ourselves be enveloped by the bewitching music. The underground artists are truly at one with nature and the elements.
By the time we have to leave we’ve lost all sense of time. Back on the surface, we’re presented with one last spectacle: that of the large moon hanging over the volcano – simply fantastic. There’s only one thing we want to do: set a date with Julien for one of the other trips that he organises on full moon nights, in the heart of the Reunion countryside.