Belfast Telegraph

John Lennon's piano hitting right notes in Portrush

Kris Charteris playing The John Lennon piano in his Kiwi's Bar in Portrush
Kris Charteris playing The John Lennon piano in his Kiwi's Bar in Portrush
The late, great John Lennon

By Nevin Farrell

A new wave of Beatlemania is breaking out in the unlikely surroundings of Portrush with a piano reputed to have links to John Lennon causing a stir among locals.

The Beatles revolutionised pop in the 1960s, and now fans are flocking to the old Playhouse Cinema in the seaside town to see the instrument.

New Zealander Kris Charteris (37), owner of Kiwi's Brew Bar, which sits on the ground floor below the Playhouse, said he was confident that the piano was authentic because it has a plaque stating that it was presented to Lennon by Capitol Records in 1969.

He added that fans loved nothing more than to have photos taken with it.

"The piano is a beautiful bit of gear - it is made out of walnut and it has got the wee plaque on it saying it was presented to John Lennon," explained Kris, who has lived here for 16 years.

While the piano, which was made by Collard & Collard, is unfortunately beginning to show its age, the bar owner believes that all it needs is love.

"I have been in the bar for two-and-a-half years and I inherited the piano here with this building, so I always bring the Americans, in particular, to have a look at it and get their photograph taken with it," Kris said.

"The original owner of the building seemed to think that the piano was authentic.

"Everybody is just blown away by the John Lennon link, especially the Americans. They just love it and they really can't get enough of it.

"We actually had people turn up this year specially to see it.

"Their friends had been here the previous year and they made a special trip to Portrush to see this piano."

The Playhouse in which the piano sits is only open to the public once a month when the Portrush Film Theatre group shows movies, but impromptu visits can be arranged.

While Kris is not really a Lennon or Beatles fan, he would love to see the instrument returned to its former glory.

However, he remains clueless as to the value of the piano or how it came to be in Portrush.

"We might look at trying to get it restored," Kris said. "I have contacted a couple of people, but it is expensive.

"I am unsure how it came to be here or where it came from. It needs a lot of work - there are about 20 keys on it which don't work. There was a massive Beatles fan here and he was able to get a tune out of it - he was the only person who was able to do it.

"But we are happy to have the piano - it is quite a claim to fame to have it."

Kris, who has had a number of inquiries about taking the instrument on tour around the UK for Beatles-based festivals, would like to find out more about the instrument's origins.

  • If anyone has information about it, they can contact him on 07900660965.

Belfast Telegraph


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