In exclusive, here are a few photos from CharlElie’s work in progress of the giant sculpture “Manhattan“.
For more info, read and watch CharlElie’s interview: CharlElie’s “Manhattan Project” interview
- We know you were invited to the Summer Olympic Games in Sydney and Athens. What would be your best Olympic memory?
Without any hesitation, I have kept a much stronger memory of the Sydney Olympic Games as those in Athens, Greece. The ambiance in Sydney was much better. All the Australian people were present behind their champ’s, and the organization. The stadiums were crowded and thousands of people were involved.
In Athens, it seemed to me that it was much more political. The games had been imposed for the symbolic impact, “back to the source” of the games, and also for the profit it could generate. It was a kind concept of communication, exactly what the media love, and indeed the biggest building was the one devoted to the press and television staff, a real temple devoted to the communication god. But the stadiums were empty. The input places for competitions were far too expensive. Beside the sports competition, hotels and amenities had also lift up their prices, multiplied by 5, 10 (and sometimes more), hoping they could refund the enormous debt they had contracted, they tried to make money with every little bit. Stadiums were empty, so they seated the few spectators in the axis of the cameras… At night nothing was happening outside the official congregation’s stuff.
In Athens all was dark at night, in Sydney, there was the festive atmosphere in the streets, bands of music playing everywhere, open bars, people singing, dancing, transportation was easy, and there was a feeling of celebration.
Once I came back, I wrote a little essay entitled “Olympic souvenirs” to keep somewhere the memory of what I had shared in Australia. This little book mingled drawings I had done on site, and texts I wrote in the short periods of night between the everyday competitions…
- You participated in many charities. Some of them are very well known such as “Les Restos du Coeurs” and “Les Enfants de la Terre”, but also many small ones. How important do you think it is to help those who are in need?
One says that even if you cannot interfere by yourself on the consequences of the global warming, at least you can close your window in the winter… You can always act for the general interest. It is a purpose of consciousness. Rather than confessing our sins, and striking our ribs with a flexible wand, I think it is best to try to make some services that can help in proportion to the investment you can make.
I was one of the first artists drifting the benefit of one concert for “les Restos du Coeur” (“Restaurants of the Heart”) created by my friend Coluche, even before it turned out to be the big money-machine once the show biz put a hand on it.
Concerning the “Les Enfants de la Terre” (“Children of the Earth”) I did it for Yannick Noah, because I found that this initiative was generous. Children from the suburbs are often bored, and it was good to bring tennis to them.
This was some times ago, I used to do this when I was living in France but I still do it here, once I’m an American citizen now. Last Sunday, I went in a studio in New Jersey, where we recorded “Au clair de la lune” (“In the moonlight“) with Dan Rieser, Norah Jones‘ drummer, and Patrick Derivaz on bass. It turns out that “In the moonlight” is the first sequence of singing music ever recorded in the world by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, who recorded these notes April 9, 1860, the oldest record of a voice now known (fourteen years before Thomas Edison).
Mine is a “full” version of the song. I think the arrangement will surprise many, who will discover that the content is not at all what we imagine when we listen only to the first verses… The advantage of all the downloads of this song will supply the funds of an association fighting for research against cancer .
** Pioneers for a cure: http://pioneersforacure.org/
I was the first “International” artist from the list who had previously done it. Only the Israelis, and Americans (pure strain) participated in this project so far, but I’m sure this site is dedicated to global development: who can refuse to record a song of his heritage, knowing in a free version it is a charity that concerns us all?
The idea of the project is excellent: it is a piece from the public domain and all the downloads will be allocated to a particular association that deals with treatment, counseling, and any related research to fight cancer. This is a smart way to use the net, music and song! You will be informed when my song will be on-line.
- Since the Fort Reveur tour is over and you won’t be performing for a couple of months, what are your plans for this summer 2012?
This summer I will return to France for a few weeks. I have to work on a major 3D project, an installation of my sculptures called “Manhattan”. There will be 80 sculptures assembled. This will happen during a festival of Art & Architecture presented in a former factory located near Belfort in Europe.
The installation “Manhattan” will then go to Senlis, (close to Paris) and it will also be presented in Nancy, during spring 2013, as a master piece ending a large retrospective exhibition of my works organized by the Lorraine region from where I come.
This summer, I also plan to start doing some gigs here and there on the repertoire of songs from the album “Be Yourself / CharlElie & The Truth”. This is what I have recorded, which is now finished.
We will maybe talk some more about it later, when it will be more accurate. We started the first meetings with some record labels to see how the disc could come out. It takes quite some time now, because making profits from music is not what it used to be, and record companies are very shy and conservative, and they do not want to throw money randomly. It seems the adventure of music was long time ago. Today, apart from the stock market that does whatever it wants, everything else is under control …
But myself, I have left unchecked.
Besides that, I will also have a little time to go swimming, play some tennis, read in the shade, exchange some words under the bower, and share barbecues in the garden with some friends… and then, there will always be those unexpected moments, those we all love to share.
CharlElie, July 2nd, 2012 – from New York, NY.
The French morning corner interview with CharlElie.