Irakli Charkviani (Mepe)

Musician, Poet, Fiction Writer

Irakli Charkviani was born on November 19, 1961 in Tbilisi and died in 2006. Later he became more known under his pseudonym Mepe (The King).

He started his music career in 1976 with the group “Arishi” and later indie genre band “Taxi”. They released their first album “Taxi” in 1988. Irakli participated in different projects: electronic-alternative group “Children’s Medicine” (1991-1992); Georgian Dance Empire (1993, electronic music); Daira (1997) – a project by Irakli and Dada Dadiani in Liverpool. His first solo-album Svan Songs was recorded and released in 1993 (Germany). It proved to be a significant influence on the Georgian alternative music of the 1990s. In 1994-1995 Irakli composed music for the feature film “Orpheus’s Death”. In 1997 there was released his second album “Apren” (You Are Booby). Irakli’s following album “Amo” appeared in 2001. In 2004 he released another album “Savse” (Full). Around the same period, he chose the pseudonym of “Mepe” (King). Later his unpublished songs were collected and released as an album “Dzirs Mepe” (Down with the King).

He graduated from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, the faculty of West European and American Literature. In the 1990s, his first verses and short stories were published in periodical editions, for example in magazine “Nobati”. In 1990s, together with Kote Kubaneishvili and Paata Kurdadze, he founded art-union “Reactive Club”, which turned out to be a brand new and revolutionary event in Georgia. It was a kind of poets’ order, which confronted the tendency of patriotism saturating the poetry of 1980s. In 1991, together with Kote Kubaneishvili, Irakli studied at Summer School of Poetry at Oxford University. In 1989, he published his collection of short stories “Old Toys”. In 1990, collection of poetry “Reactive Club” was released and it contained his verses as well.

Bibliography
  • Old Toys, collection of short stories (1989, 2009)
  • Verses in the collection “Reactive Club” (1990)
  • Calm Swim, auto-novel (2006, 2008)
  • Mepe Irakli’s Poetry (2008, 2011)
  • Personal Columns, Interviews (2011)
Awards
  • Rustaveli State Prize for Special Merit to Georgian Culture (2013)