In exclusivity, here are 5 songs in English that will be on CharlElie’s next album.
June, 1991: here is a live video of CharlElie singing “Angelina”, a song written in English.
This Sunday, September 9th, the wildlife documentary “Abyssinie, l’appel du loup” (“Abyssinie, The Call of the Wolf”) will be broadcast on French national television at 4:20 p.m., on France 2. In this documentary, wildlife photographer Vincent Munier and film maker Laurent Joffrion recorded the natural beauty of Ethiopia while focusing on the incredible life of its extreme condition living animals. CharlElie composed the entire soundtrack of this piece with his guitar player Karim Attoumane and producer Dombrance. The soundtrack can be purchased on i-Tunes.
Beautiful images with a great soundtrack that provides a unique ambiance.
Produced by Bonne Pioche. Shot with a Nikon D4.
1/ Which of the popular sports in the United States do you follow the most?
I watch tennis all year round. I sometimes manage to go to the U.S. Open, but not this year. I understand the issues of this sport that I practice when I can. Besides tennis, I follow baseball, football and ultimate fighting.
I would not say that I’m a fan, because true fans know everything about their team and I know almost nothing. However, I love the Yankees. When I used to live in France, I already knew the names of Babe Ruth, Joe Di Maggio, Mickey Mantle. Now, I follow the feats of Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. A few years ago, I took a picture in downtown New York with all the Yankees teammates wearing Jeter’s #2 jersey.
In football, I like the N.Y. Giants. I am one of the 70 million spectators watching the Super bowl. We won the last one and it was a great time to be in Manhattan.
Recently, I also discovered the violent ultimate fighting. It seems that it’ll replace boxing. With weird tattoos to scare the devils, they’re not beauty but beasts. Sure they smash eyebrows and strangle dragons, but the commitment of these gladiators is 100%, and yet they are still able to show respect to one another. I liked Randy Couture for his courage and energy to the bottom of the California Kid Urijah Faber.
I also like golf and basketball sometimes, but not all season long. If sport is a religion for some, none of us have the same mystical approach to a religion: faithful believers go to the synagogue every week, some others just go for the feasts or big events, and finally some go only for Kippur. I’d say that I’m part of the last group. I am concerned, but I usually have some things that come primer on my schedule.
2/ You have completed your installation called “Manhattan” not long ago. What was the most challenging part of accomplishing this piece?
For starters, it was the first time I had to work artistically with a team. I usually work alone, so nobody knows my recipes, my “tricks” and my rituals. But in order to get it accomplished, I had to reveal some secrets to those who accompanied me in this embodiment.
In addition, I didn’t have my tools, and it took some time to get the material with which I’m used to work.
Finally, we had to work fast, because time was running out and the inspiration as well. Fortunately, the team of sculptors and artists who gave me a hand rapidly understood the spine of the project. I showed them a sketchbook, with a lot of drawings that I had done, and they quickly assimilated the challenge. Everyone prepared drafts, and then I corrected their basis.
It was a little trickier to find the tint, color and ingredients that gave the right appearance to the sculptures, (a kind of a dark brown black and indefinable shade). We worked very hard during all of our time spent in this large warehouse plant fallow, abandoned for years, left to itself as an industrial wasteland. I planned to build 70 to 80 sculptures, and we were able to make a hundred. We ended up exhausted, drained, but very pleased with the result.
I hope that this “Manhattan” installation will circulate around the world. I’m sure lots of people would love to see it here in the MOMA.
3/ Which album (or song) will remind you of the summer 2012?
I really liked the new album of Joe Jackson, called “the Duke” that came out in June: ten covers of Duke Ellington, more or less known pieces, including the famous “Caravan“, “Mood Indigo” and “I Ain’t Got Nothing But The Blues“. I think the album is very well produced, both in the style of the time and yet very modern. It fits with the spirit of Joe Jackson. Fast and playful, it seems light but there is depth, as if nothing mattered, apparently. Excellent musicians around him (Iggy Pop even came to a piece), and I am sure that those who will see him live, will come out full of energy.
CharlElie, September 3rd, 2012 – from New York, NY.
CharlElie recording the song “Imbécile heureux” (“Happy Imbecile“) produced by Leroy Chambers, D. Meezee and Mo Benjamin. This song features on the Wagram Records album “Double Vue” (2004).
- 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.
- Here is CharlElie’s new music video “les ours blancs” (“polar bears”). 2012
Did you know CharlElie has been nominated for the “Victoires de la Musique 2012” in the concert/tour of the year category? The “Victoires de la Musique” (“Music Victories“) are the French equivalent of the Grammy Awards and CharlElie has been nominated for his latest album and tour FORt rEVEUR (2011). Surprisingly, this is CharlElie’s first nomination for this award despite over 25 albums and 30 very successful years in the music industry.
It goes without saying that this nomination is even more impressive for the fact that FORt rEVEUR was release independently of any major record label.
- Have you a particular memory of an artist with whom you really enjoyed performing?
A few years ago after a show in the South of France, I went back on stage for a song with a group called Tinariwen, who plays their own Touareg music. This famous group plays a true “Camel Blues”, better than smoke. It’s a combination of blues from the desert and traditional music, sung in Tamashek, their own language. They were habited by the music. Exchanging with these men took me to a very strong inner voyage. It seemed that we could almost understand each others through the music; like a dialog without words.
A quite different experience was to play a duet with Benjamin Biolay at Le Casino de Paris. This guy is amazing. He’s an impressive songwriter; he has his own style – quite different from mine. There is a mutual respect between us. He knows my songs so well, that that night we joined beyond the meaning of the songs.
And, I must name also a bluesman from Chicago called Studebaker John, whose voice was for me as particlurar as Dr John, with whom I played in Le Printemps de Bourges in the 90’s. Studebaker John inspired me to go to Chicago to record Casque NU, and when he agreed to sing on “Chicago night Blues” it felt like a “the dream came true”.
- Your guitar player, Karim Attoumane, always delivers one hell of a show. How did you meet him?
Karim is perhaps the most accomplished guitarist with whom I have ever played. He’s wild, committed and professional. He reaches amazing notes sometimes that I wouldn’t even have imagined. On stage, he’ s a terrific performer and he captures the audience. He throws himself through the music, and takes musical risks, like an acrobat on a wire. When he has his guitar in his hands, it seems as if nothing bad can happen.
Two or three years before he joined me, I saw him playing in a cheap student rock-contest. He didn’t win, but made such a good impression that he remained in my memory during all this time. I could not forget the guy.
At that time, I was playing with another great left handed guitarist called Alice Botté. We had a long history together, and I did not see any good reasons to replace him.
But then one day Alice had an inability to break free of a duty, and Karim came. Since then, he has never left me. I enjoy playing with him. He is great ! He’s a real guitar hero, and in addition, he is smart, and quite funny, and we can talk about different matters together.
My music would be very different today if he was not there.
And again, I think we’ re are only at the beginning of the story …
- We notice a frequent use of wood in your artwork. Can you explain this choice of material and do you feel a particular connection to it?
Yes, I don’t know why I like wood, perhaps because the resin of the wood smells good.
Maybe because it reminds me of my childhood, when I used to play during holidays afternoons in the workshop behind the shop where my father and my mother sold antique furniture. I liked to retrieve bones of old wood that had been thrown out by the carpenters and joiners working with my father. Perhaps, it could be for the sensual aspect of timber, which can be soft or hard, according to the given shapes.
Perhaps for its historical aspect, because it brings us back into Noah’s Ark during the flood; like a remains of the Bible time.
Perhaps because the wood is alive, even disguised as a board or palette.
Maybe for all these reasons at once, I like to include wood in my Art.
CharlElie, December 16th, 2011 – from New York, NY.