Born in 1946, René Lacaille is the master of the spicy séga rhythms of l'Île de la Réunion, a volcanic island paradise located deep in the southwestern Indian Ocean. The embodiment of la Réunion's vitality, René is a man steeped in his culture's celebration of life and good times. As early as age 7, he learned how to command a party when he accompanied his father to perform at weddings and dances throughout the island's many towns. This was rigorous training, because the musicians had to be versatile and capable of playing the Paso Doble, cha-cha, polka, waltz, bolero, Creole quadrille, Sega, and Maloya. René's talent and curiosity led him to master the bongos, drums, accordion, guitar, and saxophone. The countless nights that Rene spent playing professionally, combined with new music arriving from other shores, provided a variety of influences for him, and his own compositions would soon be informed by flamenco, salsa, twist, rock, jazz, and fusion.
In his 20s, Rene abandoned the accordion for the guitar, and formed the now-legendary group Caméléon, who were the first to invent electric Maloya, blending traditional Réunion music with modern western timbres. Rene's "Sax Séga" would prove to be a hit with the francophone market, and is still featured on flights by Air France. In 1979, René moved to France and continued his musical interests in jazz and fusion. In his 1996 release ASTER, Rene draws on all of his preferred influences.
Soon after, he had a deeply moving musical encounter with the roots Réunion artist Danyél Waro, which re-kindled his interest in the accordion and Réunion musical traditions, thereby changing the direction of his musical life. To mark the reunion that René enjoyed with the accordion and the hot séga and maloya rhythms of his homeland, René recorded PATAMPO with Danyel Waro and with Rene's percussionists Joel Gonthier and Bernard Marka, who have played with Rene for over ten years. Since meeting Bob Brozman in 1999, René has toured with him in Europe, South Africa, and Canada. René continues to compose new music at an astounding rate.
In 2002, Rene and Bob released DIGDIG (meaning "tickles") with World Music Network. It became an international hit, reaching #3 in Europe’s World Music charts. René and Bob have toured extensively and repeatedly throughout Europe, Canada, east Africa, and in 2005 they will be touring for the first time in Australia, for a month (March/April). René's talents continue to usher him into new countries each year, helping to span his reach from Europe and Africa to Canada, Brazil, China, and the USA. Rene’s second album for World Music Network, MAPOU, has just been released (2004) to great acclaim.
Rene Lacaille playing accordion at the Festival d' ete in Quebec
Photo by Haley S. Robertson
Bob Brozman and Rene Lacaille
(La Reunion Island, Indian Ocean)
More about DIGDIG, the exciting CD with Bob and Rene Lacaille
More about LA REUNION ISLAND, Rene's birthplace
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