PNG stringband music has global audiance still

PNG stringband music has global audiance still

June 6th, 2008, 3:22 am #1

Wantok Musik Foundation is proud to announce the release of Matogo, the new CD by George Telek and the Moab Stringband from Raluana village, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea. Recorded at David Bridie’s Enormodome Studio whilst on tour with Sing Sing in 2006, Matogo captures the upbeat vibrancy of the Rabaul stringband sound.It also continues George Telek’s international recording career.

The album of twelve original tunes was mixed by Tim Cole and includes a number of brand new songs plus such Moab classics as Abebe,Paska and Jenny.

It was the Moab Stringband’s “Hammerhead Shark” cassette that first brought George Telek to the attention of Bridie and many others back in 1986 and led to the recording/collaboration of Telek with Not Drowning, Waving on the international “Tabaran” album at Pacific Gold Studios in rabaul. From here George Telek’s international solo career took off. He has recorded three solo albums: “Telek”; “Serious Tam”; and “Amette”. “Amette” won an ARIA award, an MBE in PNG and glowing reviews from Losuia to London, and from Namatanai to New York. “Serious Tam” saw Telek signed to Peter Gabriel’s Real World label. The subsequent international tour to promote that album saw Telek play to such salubrious venues as the Olde Shakespeare Globe Theatre, Womad Reading, Seattle and Hannover.

But stringband music is where it all started for George. As a child he would sit around watching his uncles play in the original Moab Stringband, and as is often the case, as time passed he grew old enough to start playing with his uncles.

Stringband music is a hybrid form of music unique to the pacific. In the early twentieth century missionaries from the Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga ventured out to convert the “savages” to Christianity. The missionaries bought with them guitars and hymn books, and the harmonies that are central to the stringband sound have their derivations here. People in PNG would also listen to ABC radio pre independence and would hear George Jones, Slim Dusty, Johnny Cash and the like. Fused with oral history and traditional styles, stringband music is a melting pot of the above influences. In younger stringbands like Moab, you can hear the Rolling Stones and the Beatles as well.

The Moab Stringband are one of PNG’s most highly regarded stringbands. This is probably due to Telek’s fame as the lead singer of Painim Wok who in the 1980s was, along with fellow Rabaul act, Barike, one of the biggest bands in PNG, and with West Papua’s Black Brothers, one of the biggest selling acts in the whole of Melanesia. In 2006/7 the Moab Stringband toured Australia as part of Sing Sing and the band knocked out audiences at the Sydney opera House, the Victorian Arts Centre (Hamer Hall),The Strand in Townsville (to 5000 people), and to two sell out shows at the Powerhouse in Brisbane. The Moab Stringband were amazing ambassadors for PNG and wowed audiences new to the stringband sound. To see them perform live, moving in unison as they play is "like you've been let in on a special secret", said Phil Wales, Telek’s guitarist and RRR radio personality.

This cd comes out as funding has been approved for a documentary about Telek ,the Moab Stringband and the Rabaul sound by award winning documentary maker Catriona McKenzie and Producer Jason Byrne.there is no doubt that Telek and Bridie’s collaboration is an interesting story and that the music Telek continues to produce is fascinating and soulful.Matogo is yet another in a long line of interesting Telek releases

There are plans by the Wantok Musik Foundation to release other stringband releases over the coming year.A compilation CD of stringband music from all over PNG featuring such bands as the Paramana Strangers (Central), Seahorse (Kavieng, New Ireland), Langa Vibrations of Talasea, Koiyakwai and Tubukone stringbands of the Trobriand Islands, the Junior Devils and Agoigoi stringbands of Rabaul, and Revanmates Stringband of the Duke of York Islands, plus some bamboo bands from Bougainville. This compilation will show the very different stringband styles that differentiate the different language and provincial groups of PNG. There are also plans to travel all around Melanesia and showcase the Vanuatu, Solomons, West Papua, New Caledonia, Fiji and the Torres Strait Islands styles of stringband music. Melanesia is chock full of amazing music and cultural art.

Come Along with the Wantok Musik Foundation and enjoy an amazing ride.

Harim Gut!!!!