It has been nine years since French singer M. Pokora has been on a stage in French Polynesia. Back to Tahiti for one concert on his RED Tour, he gave an amazing show accompanied by dancers and acrobats.
This is your first trip to French Polynesia. You have performed here more than most French singers. What will you offer to your audience here that is different from last time?
M. Pokora: I first arrived in 2005 for an NRJ multi-artist show. In 2006, I gave two concerts. This time, I face Polynesian audiences as an artist with more maturity and more life under his belt, as well as with a larger group.
People are talking about an American-styled show. Is this the same show you did in France?
Yes, it is exactly the same one we do at festivals all over France. There are 22 of us on stage, singing and dancing with acrobatics, brass instruments, musicians and backup singers. This is a big show that I wanted to share with Polynesian audiences. Just because we are coming to a faraway destination doesn’t mean we cannot do the same show. This was the reason I came. That way, nothing is fixed and formatted. As far as the audience goes, we can improvise yet the quality will stay the same.
After nine years, do you find that Polynesian hospitality remains the same?
Yes, absolutely. After such a long journey and arriving so exhausted, it is heartwarming to receive such a welcome. So many people were there to greet us as well as traditional dancers. There is always such positive energy and such human warmth.
Are Polynesian audiences different from French audiences?
As we are staying here several days, we have more time to meet the public and there is more proximity to fans. Plus, it is such a pleasure to realize that thousands of kilometers from where we produced our album, people are here to share moments with us. Our music traveled all the way to here. Polynesians are more reserved. At the airport, there were many people, but they were not like a mob. We feel they are thrilled to have us on stage and there is an element of respect. Tahitians emit tremendous energy and I am not talking about the physical. There is something quite tribal. I like this energy. Besides, coming to Tahiti, we are reminded of the diversity of French territories.
Are you going to have a chance to explore Polynesia’s diversity with your band?
Yes. To come this far just to stay in a hotel room is not an option. Besides, I like to organize activities for my band. Some of them have never had the chance to travel so far away. They will have lots to talk about upon their return to France. We’re going scuba diving. We will see Hei Tahiti put on a traditional dance show at the Intercontinental Tahiti and go to Moorea to discover rays. I will walk through the streets of Papeete and perhaps buy some pearls. In 2005, I had my leg tattooed during my first stay here. This time, I think I will take back pearl jewelry. I also know that some of the musicians will be tempted to buy a ukulele.
And yourself? What do you expect from your trip?
I love to get the feel of a place and a sense of the people. Trips are also a time to discover new foods. I love to try local dishes and discover new flavors. Here in Tahiti, I hope to eat lots of fish. Further, as an artist, it is important to become immersed in other cultures and to be open to other perspectives.
You’ll continue with your tour in New Caledonia. What would you like to say to the Polynesian people before you leave?
That I am thrilled to be here and I will not wait nine years before coming back!
Interview compiled by Alexandra Sigaudo-Fourny