Jacques Brel, 1929-1978 on new Polynesian stamp

May 16th, 2013

The post of French Polynesia issued a stamp to commemorate Jacques Brel, Belgian singer-songwriter who composed and performed literate, thoughtful, and theatrical songs that generated a large, devoted following in Belgium and France initially, and later throughout the world. He was also well-known for his passion to aviation.

Jacques Brel was born on 8 April 1929 in Brussels. On 17 February 1953, he recorded a 78 rpm record. His debut was difficult but he slowly managed to build a name for himself. In 1956, he was awarded the "Charles Cros" Prize for his musical interpretation of "Quand on n'a que l'amour". Quickly, he charmed the audience and was recognized as a stupendous singer.

After putting on numerous shows all around the world (in Belgium, France, Canada, Morocco), he then discovered musicals and the world of cinema with a first film entitled Franz.

In February 1974, Jacques BREL decided to "change" his life. He acquired a superb 19 meter sail boat – Askoy II, and started a long voyage in Antwerp, then called in England, the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands. In November 1975, he reached the Marquesas Islands and decided to settle in the island of Hiva Oa. This was the beginning of his passion for aviation. He lived in the Marquesas archipelago until his death, on 9 October 1978.

Today, he rests in the cemetery of Atuona next to Paul Gauguin.
Since the 30th anniversary of his disappearance, the local flying club of Atuona has been named after the famous singer. Perfectly restored, "Jojo", a Beechcraft Bonanza, looks good and stands firm on its pedestal! Jacques BREL linked up the Marquesas Islands, being of service to the communities by delivering mail, medicine and also carrying a few passengers.