Ia ora na Charlie! Can you introduce yourself ?
Ia ora na everyone, my name is Charlie, alias "Didjelirium" for my artist name. I arrived in Tahiti when I was very young and I grew up there. Since I have been here I have always been immersed in music, the guitar, the parties. I have been writing since I was 8 years old. I was doing a lot of poetry until I learned to play the guitar and then I transposed my poems into song. I'm a singer and a little bit of everything, I also play the ukulele, but my talent is really writing.
What were your beginnings?
I started out as a philosophy teacher but soon realized that was not what I wanted to do all my life. I quit and went to China in 2006 to sing reggae. It worked well, we had small evenings with DJs that I met there. Then I started to get interested in music videos for songs and I learned how to make video for a year on my own, which allowed me to work in a design studio in Shanghai. Not many artists can say that they have made a living from their art at some point in their life and I have been fortunate enough to work for 10 years in music!
I love Asia but the pollution made me come back to Fenua. With Moana Louis, my partner at Blackstone Production, we opened an audio-visual production company where we do a lot of music and music videos. We have a lot of artists in the office and we are lucky to also have a lot of local musicians coming by to see us. The advantage of being only artists in the studio is that you create a warm atmosphere, you know what you're doing and the artists who come here feel good.
Do you do concerts?
With my group Mad Nomads, we made some music videos during the confinement and we had planned concert dates but for the moment we cannot do it because of the health situation. It is true that it is missing a lot because music is shared, it is felt. In my opinion, art is the only thing that allows you to free yourself. There is no pressure, no obligation. As long as the creative energy is there, you are free. Music saved me a bit because I could be a professor of philosophy, but on the contrary, I went far from it, to meet other cultures, to express messages with lots of different people. And it's magic when musics get married together and form something that could not have been born if we had done it alone.
Did you write songs for local artists?
Yes, some, especially for young people aged 10-15 who have great voices! When I have to write for them I really put myself in their shoes and the inspiration comes automatically. I've never done music theory but it can be felt when a chord rings out of tune or not. You physically feel the vibrations of the music and it's the same with the people around you. Either it sounds wrong or you vibrate the same way and it feels like you've known each other for 10 years.
Do you have a favorite song that is played on the ukulele?
The song that I probably played the most on the ukulele when I was little! This is "Pahoho" from Te Ava Piti.
Do you have any pieces to recommend to young people who are new to the ukulele or to foreigners who wish to discover songs from Tahiti?
Polynesian classics of course like the albums of Bobby Holcomb, Angelo and Esther Tefana. There are also the songs of Jack Johnson, and then even all the covers can be possible. The advantage is that it is a small instrument that has only 4 strings and is quite practical. In comparison, for example, I play the didgeridoo and it is much more bulky. And above all the ukulele has this unique and heavenly sound that instantly makes you travel and gives you a smile.
And how did you learn to play the ukulele?
With my friends in Tahiti, at the beginning you only start a few notes and then gradually you learn. Like many things in my life, I had both physical and material experience so I learned to play music by practicing.
You said that when you were little there was always someone bringing their ukulele somewhere?
Yes, there was always a ukulele, and even now when I go to work around the corner, it's nice to hear the sound of the ukulele and to say hello, to smile. Life is that easy. If you could wish a stranger a good and happy day every day, the world would be better. If in addition we can say it in music with the ukulele, it's the best! And it's part of the magic of Fenua to hear the ukulele almost everywhere.
Thanks Charlie! And finally, what would be the most original project that you would dream of seeing the light of day?
It is in connection with my childhood at the fenua, when I went to the valleys to listen to music with my colleagues ... I have a project in connection with Julien from "Own Mission" and several local artists like Teritua. We would like to take a truck tour of the island to reach people who cannot attend our events and share our music with them.
Mauruuru for the Upa Upa Tahiti interview!