The day when “The King” was born: Irakli Charkvini’s life and career
19 November, 2016
The day when “The King” was born: Irakli Charkvini’s life and career
November 19 marks 55th birthday of a very important and extremely distinguished person in Georgia’s modern history of art, music and poetry Irakli Charkviani, also known under his pseudonym Mepe (The King). Charkviani made his name with his eccentric poetry and music which spanned alternative rock, electronic music as well as hip hop that was a novelty back in 1990s. Apart from many songs and compositions, Irakli is the author of several books and a number of rhymes. His songs
not only sound beautifully and have rare melody, but also carry deep meaning, convey important and revolutionary messages and that is exactly why he has been considered one of the most progressive Georgian musicians. Strange as it may sound, such eccentric and rebellious individual was the grandson of once First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Georgia Candid Charkviani, who was the first person in the country that was part of USSR back when Irakli was born. As his father Gela Charkviani, diplomat, educator and writer recalls Irakli had very close relations with his grandfather and he spent most of his childhood at his grandparents' house.
Irakli with his grandfather
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According to Gela, Irakli started his career as a musician at an early age. He was 15 years old when he founded his first musical band Arishi and toured around Georgia.

Even though his parents were strongly against him travelling throughout the country on his own, they could not withstand his obstinacy and confront his strong will. When he was 18 or 19 years old, Irakli was extremely captivated by poetry and wrote most of his rhymes during this period. 1990 was the turning point in his career; he released his extravagant musical album “Shen Apren” (You Are Crazy) with a peculiar video clip that caused controversial reactions in the society. “Because of such massive outcry, this issue was even discussed in the parliament of Georgia, as if it posed a danger to the country. Actually it was a real breakthrough in Georgian culture back then. Irakli’s music has two main directions, first - melodic, beautiful songs, while the second represents minimalistic, Dadaistic, childish-irrational music with complicated techno rhythms”, - Gela Charkviani says.

Irakli with his father Gela Charkviani
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Irakli was married three times. He was 17 when he married a beautiful girl Keti Kobulia, aged 16. Yet their marriage did not last long and they split up. His second marriage was to a Russian girl named Lena whom he met in Gagra, a town in Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia region. From this marriage Irakli’s first and only son Maksime was born. The musician’s last wife and the most important woman in his life was Ketato, who supported and appreciated his music and poetry most of all. Irakli and Ketato performed and recorded several duos as well. From his latest marriage Naniko, his daughter was born.

First marriage
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Second marriage
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Last marriage
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Irakli together with his daughter
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Mepe, The King, as he called himself, was best known for his song ‘Kaghaldis Gemi’ (Paper Boat) where he sings: ‘I will swim over the sea, Don’t listen to anybody else saying I won’t come, I will come back to you, I will return.’ Charkviani was notable for his poems and stories, yet he remained as a leading artist on Georgia’s alternative and electronic scene. He is the author of Mshvidi Tsurva (Silent Swim), Piradi Tserilebi (Private Letters), Dzveli Satamashoebi (Old Toys), etc.

Mepe was found dead, reportedly of "heart failure", at his apartment in Tbilisi, on February 24, 2006. Irakli Charkviani was awarded Georgia's most prestigious Rustaveli Prize for his significant contribution to the development of contemporary Georgian culture in 2013. Many beautiful phrases from his songs have become iconic quotes, such as ‘Time will only spare love.’ Today the great author, musician and personality would turn 55. Here we present to you Irakli's most famous and beautiful song Paper Boat beloved by natives as well as many foreigners.

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Irakli and Lado Burduli by Guram Tsibakhashvili
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