For the children of Grand Nouméa, it is Boe, in marital status, Henry Toka. Originally from Vanuatu, the storyteller and multi-instrumentalist traveled across several continents before settling on the Caillou in 2007. He discovers his portrait in Uncommon Destinies.
Born in Port-Vila in the 1960s, the musician grew up in Ambae, where his family is from, then in Santo y Pentecostés. Between legends attached to his native island, initiation to the guitar and choruses proclaimed by his father’s record player, Henry forged a unique culture since he was a child, nurtured by both local myths and echoes from distant horizons.
It takes us out of our everyday lives. When they talk to us about Tagaro, for example, at home in Ambae. How the island was created: the capsized canoe that became our island…it’s amazing! […] All these legacies of the past, you have to go looking for them. We have resource people, we call them old banyans: when it falls, it goes!
Very soon, his musical tastes ignored distances and fashion effects: in the early 1980s, his classmates at Malapoa College in Port-Vila nicknamed Boe the late born beatlemaniac ! The young music lover is, in effect, a fan of the famous Liverpool group… from whom he parted ways a decade ago. This inspiration at the crossroads of genres will feed the style of the Tropic Tempo group that Henry joined in the 90s. Thus the polyglot guitarist, keyboardist and arranger participated in the release of the album. See blong ol bumbu, mixed at the Mangrove studio in Nouméa, helping to make the group known internationally. From this time dates a deep friendship with Kiki Karé, whom Boe will meet years later at the Caillou just before his early disappearance in 2008.”I was lucky to meet him and have enough time to connect with a great man…”
In 2000, the Tropic Tempo company was invited to perform in Orlando, USA. After this somewhat bitter experience, the paths of Boe and the musicians diverge when they return. Address France for the adventurer. Gone for three months, he lived seven years in Troyes, in the east of France. It was there that he learned French, graduated in carpentry… then became an organizer of a community center in contact with Senegalese, Malian or Kosovo war refugee children.
Since 2007 in Greater Noumea, Boe has cultivated his passion in contact with disabled people or young children, playing on instruments, performing nursery rhymes from the Pacific and elsewhere for his musical awakening sessions. “During my one-hour visit, if I could bring another perspective than what you’re used to seeing with your parents or those around you, I think I would have done something useful…” he says with both humility and conviction.
Discover this episode and all the others of Destins peu Communs, the program that goes out to meet our identities (radio broadcast on Mondays at 2:00 p.m. and on Sundays at 4:00 p.m.).