Pipisu Village, Malaita,
The Solomon Islands
“My culture- A’re' A’re- is a gift. It is ones decision to share that gift with people of other cultures through music. We do not know where this sharing and connection will lead. It may help archeologists and anthropologists to understand where we have all come from. It may help us understand human migration and our deep connections. It is the gift from our ancestors. It is good for future generations to know who they are. Culture is a gift. All cultures are a gift. Our cultural traditions consist of arts, poems, music, food, shell money "houra" (feasting) and costumes which have survived until the 20th Century.”
“The long story of the A’re' A’re is represented in our most important symbol - the canoe. This symbol represents the arrival of our ancestors in the A’re' A’re land because it was in these boats that they came. It also represents the three clans of the A’re' A’re.”
“Kindness and sharing in our culture, its traditions, to our land, nature and to each other makes our life sustainable. If everyone is kind, everyone is rich."
- Charles Maimarosia
Charles Maimarosia is a contemporary artist born in A're'A're, Solomon Islands. He is the former lead singer, choreographer and songwriter of the globally successes band, Narasirato, who have brought the traditional bamboo band onto the world stage, toured to Glastonbury UK, Fuji Rock Japan, Austronesian Music Festival Taiwan, BluesFest Australia and countless more.
As a solo artist now based in Melbourne Australia, he continues his passion of the ancient A're' A're ancestral music. He has a simplicity and grace in his solo performances where he blows the panpipe, plays chords on his guitar, sings cultural and ancestral songs. He brings the audience on a spiritual journey from the past into the present moment.
Back in Apr' 2016 in Wombat State Forest...
Charles has seen the world from a thatched house window growing up in a Solomon Islands village to looking out onto thousands as he performed from some of the worlds biggest festival stages, one time lead singer of the Narisarato Pan Pipe Band, Charles has recently been living in Melbourne, Australia and that’s where we met to fill him in on Small Island Big Song, at Wesley Anne’s ‘two meals for one’ night in Northcote. (The SIBS budget is tight!) Over mushroom risotto and fish n’ chips we filled him in on our goal to unite musicians from Rapa Nui/Easter Island to Madagascar, Taiwan to Aotearoa/New Zealand who all share the Austronesian heritage, it was the first he had heard of the connection he shared with the others, and later we heard he spent hours googling and discovering the other artists in the project and was inspired to write a song using the ancient form of his A’re A’re language and to build an A’re A’re instrument which hadn’t been recorded before, so he had to get permission from the elders back in his village to record the song – Naka Wara Wara To'o.
We met to record a few days before our flight to Madagascar in the Wombat Forest just out of Melbourne, so it’s not the Solomon Islands in Charles footage it’s Melbourne (sorry, but we will get there), starting with a guide track which he played on Acoustic Guitar (it took until PNG to get it out the mix) he layered up an amazing vocal track and then all the pan pipes, first the Au-Rerepi, and then the Awaa which was stunning, he played a solo Jimi Hendrix style, have a look at the live version, tiny bamboo tubes sounding like a Marshall quad box on 11!
Also we have to thank Charles’s wonderful partner Anna who was an amazing help and his son Francis who we made the official session photographer on the day: great images Francis thanks, you have the eye!
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