A cardiac specialist in our very midst who saves numerous lives on a daily basis, both professionally and through his music.

Claude Mariottini, Interventional Cardiologist and Heart Rhythm Specialist at the Institut Arnault Tzanck in Saint Laurent du Var, took up the guitar and began playing with friends during his studies. “I’ve been strumming chords since I was 13 years old. In the 80’s, I played with my friends just for pleasure“, he says. What triggered it all off? “The music of The Kinks, hence the name of the group I created later on, The Low Budget Men, inspired by The Kinks album entitled “Low Budget” released in 1979.”

The group The Low Budget Men is closely associated with the charity organization 20,000 Vies, and all the proceeds of their music (CDs and concerts), allow them to finance the purchase of Automated External Defibrillators. An ideal way of combining their passion for music and this worthy action for the needs of public health, and to finance the training of life-saving actions for the general public.

We were lucky enough to catch up with Claude recently, and took the opportunity to find out some more about the great work that he and his cohorts do in providing defibrillators throughout the region. 

What was the inspiration behind your Association 20,000 Vies? Why was it set up?

The charity organization 20,000 Vies allows me to combine my work and my passion for music, both of which can save lives in a different way. Medicine and Music make a good combination.

The Low Budget Men

Your band, The Low Budget Men, play a big part in your fundraising. Could you tell us a bit about the band?

Yes absolutely, the public’s interest in the music in turn leads them to discover the charity movement, and a great number of private donations help finance the organization. The band itself is made up of Stéphane Mirc on Bass Guitar, Marc Piola Caselli on Lead Guitar, Eric Chabaud on Drums and Doreen Chanter performs our backing vocals (she has previously performed with artists like Joe Cocker, Bryan Ferry, Van Morrison, and Meat Loaf), and myself on rhythm guitar and vocals. We are often accompanied in concert by our good friend Paul Casey, a very talented slide guitarist who has played with Chris Rea and Van Morrison amongst others.

Could you explain to us the importance of making available defibrillators to the public?

There are 50,000 cases of sudden cardiac arrest each year in France and not nearly enough defibrillators. So it’s vital that more defibrillators be made available if we want lives to be saved each day.

How many defibrillators have you provided throughout the region to date?

To date, about 65.

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What does the future hold for the band and the Association?

Expand the charity organization and become known by everyone all over the country. We are in contact with Arrhythmia Alliance – The Heart Rhythm Charity, a British and worldwide organization for whom 20,000 Vies could become the French branch. As for the group…to play to yet more audiences in France, and our dream is to play in London!!!

Have you any specific message for our readers?

We would ask them to spread the word about the existence of 20,000 Vies, backed up by a group of musicians and that each and every person out there can help save lives, either by attending the concerts or by buying the discs. We welcome all good ideas and suggestions. And any interested sponsors are always welcome to contact us!! Finally, this illness doesn’t only happen to others. One should know how to carry out life saving actions and fight to have more defibrillators made available.

Association 20,000 Vies providing defibrillators on the French Riviera

Many thanks to Claude for taking the time out of his hectic schedule to very kindly answer our questions, and also a very big thank you to Margaret Morel for all her help in organising the interview. We encourage you all to support Association 20,000 Vies, buy the CD ‘Crossing Lives‘ featuring Paul Casey, or catch The Low Budget Men in concert this summer.

All images courtesy Claude Mariottini and The Low Budget Men; © Jean-Louis Lipari
 

 

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