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The music-bearing yacht which has delighted islanders in Castlebay and Stornoway over the past couple of weeks has set sail for new discoveries this morning (Friday 9 July).

The Lady Flow, with pianist and singer Marieke Huysmans Berthou and her family aboard, left Stornoway harbour early this morning and is now headed for Skye.

Marieke is travelling with her husband Sebastien, three-year-old son Árann, friend and photo-journalist Lily Letellec and the ship’s cat, Seabird.

They arrived in the islands on Friday 25 June, when they moored in Castlebay marina ahead of her first concert in the Western Isles.

After a few days in Scalpay, she continued north to Stornoway harbour, where Marieke performed three concerts, the last on Wednesday evening (7 July) to crowds gathered on the Cromwell Street quayside.

Mingling her own compositions for voice and piano with songs and tunes collected around the coasts of France, Ireland and the islands, Marieke also paid tribute to the numerous happy encounters she had enjoyed at her island ports of call. She spoke of her joy at escaping from the limitations of lockdown with being able to interact with an audience, to be able to see people smiling and have people clapping along to some of the music. She praised the harbour authority and its staff for their welcome. 

She admitted - after seven years afloat  – that travelling by sailing boat was extremely uncomfortable, but arriving by boat in locations and travelling so slowly, meant there was far more chance to get to know people and their cultures and songs.  The next port of call is Skye and then quite a few more Scottish islands.  Later in the year they will be back home in Brittany for two months to allow for serious maintenance on their boat, and then they will be back to cross Scotland via the Caledonian Canal and travel over to Norway before heading towards islands in the Arctic region, as well as the Northern Isles and the Faroes.  

Marieke’s next live-streamed concert will be on 30 July and you can watch that, and previous recorded concerts from her travels, on her YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/pianoceanproject/videos