Tribe of Jubal @ Lamana, 2009 are certain things that are mandatory in life, (in their varying degrees). Going to school, going to church, visiting the village,  learning how to scrape coconut or making a bilum. Okay maybe those last 2 items on the list shouldn’t be mandatory but its one of those things that makes you feel a little more Papua New Guinean.


So I would dare say that any Papua New Guinean should also make it personally mandatory to witness a performance by Tribe of Jubal. My initial thoughts were that it was great that a group of artists had picked up where the legendary trial blazers ‘Sanguma’ had left off. But I admit I was skeptical to some extent of the authenticity of the group.


It’s a big and sometimes ugly word, this ‘authenticity’. In this sense I refer to cultural authenticity. I don’t want to sound arrogant and overly nationalistic when I say this, but my feelings have always been that Papua New Guinean’s themselves should be the front runners in promoting and developing their own arts and culture. So with these ideas swirling in my head, my issues were all safely put to rest when I realised that there was only one Australian in the band, the rest were all Papua New Guinean.


With that part of me reassured, I listened as the MC on the night began his introduction by telling the audience that they would (among other things) be witnessing our traditions in music through Tribe of Jubal and that some of it would be music that you have known for years.


Manus Dancers by you.

Okayee…interesting I thought… and then in came the Manus dance group ‘Paluai SookSook’.

Everyone is familiar with the energy of the Manus dance, the ‘hey, hey, hey’ and the thrusting of hips has always been a PNG favourite. And the drum beats, well they’re priceless. Everyone knows that drum beat, so on stage they had 3 garamuts, one large one and 2 smaller ones which they used to good effect.


With the audience feet tapping and the Paluai SookSook dancers doing their ‘thang’, the crowd was slowly being aroused for the night to come. So you had the Manus beats being belted away and just when I was thinking that they would finish up with a finale for Tribe of Jubal to start, in comes the band with Airi Ingram charging towards the drum kit where his hands found the drum sticks and the drum sticks found the drum skins.


Airi Ingram soops up the Manus Beats by you.

Now this really caught my attention when Airi seamlessly joined in with the garamut beats with the drum kit. The effect you had was like a sooped up Manus garamut beat with heavier thumps and bolder sounds. It was as though the Manus beats had just been injected with steroids and you could really feel the sound through the big speakers in the club. Ahhhh…I thought to myself, now I get it, so this is how you make traditional sounds contemporary.


Band leader Ben Hakalitz and the rest of the band comprising of Pius Wasi, Airi, Richard Mogu, Nikki Doll, Baruka Tau, Phil Bywater, and others then all joined in with layers upon layers of textured sound to kick start the night. From an entertainment point of view it was good to see the Paluai SookSook dancers continue with their thrusts and sways as the music morphed from the Manus beats into the first song of the night for Tribe of Jubal.


I was pleased to learn that Tribe of Jubal had chosen to start their world tour in PNG, it makes it right some how, like a thank you to the source of your strength before you went out into the world to sing about the place you come from. To share with us wantoks before you started your sharing with the rest of the world. Tribe of Jubal have toured extensively since 2007, traveling around Australia and the Pacific like Vanuatu and New Caledonia. This I believe is their second major tour now which will have them trotting around major festivals in Australia like the BluesFest in Easter and further on to the Montreal Jazz Festival in Switzerland in July.


The performance at Lamana only went for an hour and a half and although short and sweet I felt as though it went for longer. Throughout the performance Ben and Pius explained certain aspects of the music and its roots in PNG. Pius and Richard also did an interesting set with traditional bamboo flutes from Simbu, imitating animals like the Bird of Paradise. I particularly liked this part as the shrill sounds of the flute jumped back and forth from Pius to Richard in a nice duet of sound.

I was looking forward to seeing Vanessa Quai at the vocals, but Nikki Doll had replaced her for this gig. Nikki had toured with Tribe of Jubal last year to New Caledonia and  she certainly made her presence felt on the night. Her infectious smile made me realise that we don’t have too many female leads in bands or when our local artists get out there they don’t smile enough so you could certainly feel the warmth and energy from her and all of the band. I’d say all up it really was an entertaining performance with the band using the whole Lamana stage area to dance, sing and play as band members like Ben, Richard and Airi rotated from instrument to instrument as required. They even had West Papuan dancer, Hein performing in the background which was a nice touch.


As Pius stated on the night, it’s a shame that the radios don’t play more of this type of music. He observed quite correctly that this really is PNG’s ‘classical’ music and I would agree with that. Finally, a musical art form that you can listen to and feel its connecting you to your past. Maybe this is how the western world thinks of their Opera and classical music?

See Pics Here:

Palui SookSook by you.
Pius Wasi & Nikki Doll by you.
Airi Ingram by you.
The Finale by you.













14 thoughts on “Tribe of Jubal @ Lamana, 2009

  1. Hello Emmanuel,
    Like the sound of the Tribe of Jubal’s performance. Going on your take of the performance, it is definately mandatory to see the band in action. I would be the first in the queue if they came to the UK, unfortunately their world tour doesn’t appear to include UK. I think they should tour the UK.

    Around summer time there are so many music festivals taking place all over the UK. The big ones are Glastonbury ( (takes place in May -June, not sure on exact date), Leeds and Reading takes place on the same weekend at the end of August, also in August there is the Edingburgh Fringe festival. There are other smaller venues through out the country, such as the O2 arena in London and Sheffield Arena in Sheffield which is in the middle of the country. Sheffield arena would be great because it is central for many PNGeans living here to get to easily, also other wantoks living on the continent could fly to Manchester than travel to Sheffield.
    I so want to see the band and I hope that they will consider touring the UK

    Mi meri PNG living in UK

  2. Hey Georgina, thanks for stopping by. Yeah sorry not sure what their plans are besides Switzerland, but maybe after reading your comments they might work something out, we’ll see hopefully 🙂

    But thanks though for listing the festivals, it may come in handy in future.

  3. Thats what am talking about (more so want to listen too). With PNG’s diverse and unique culture comes with it, its own unique and diverse sounds. Fusion it with the contemporary music is the way to go especially when in todays day and age most of our young people tend to adopt the western style of music with its modern sounds and leave the traditional sounds for independence day.
    Am sure they will appreciate and relate better to their traditional sounds when its fused with the modern sounds, it gives them the best of both worlds.

    Will be in Aus for the year hope I catch them there. BTW have they produce any album yet?

  4. @Georgina
    Okay got some news for you, Ben Hakalitz has advised that as far as the UK goes, he’s still waiting on confirmation from WOMAD UK, which is at Wiltshire,and organised by Peter Gabriel ex Genesis singer. And he’s also waiting on RidduRiddu Festival in Norway to confirm. So as soon as he hears from them then they will be able to cover UK and Norway as well,

    There is also the Sierra Nevada world music festival in California, which they are looking at.

    Thanks again Bro 🙂

    Yes they do have an album out called ‘T’mme Yakinso’, you can buy it online here

  5. Hi Emmanuel,

    Thanks for getting back to me and thank you for the follow up on the tour news.

    I await further news of the tour plans on your blog and if they make it to the UK. In the mean time I’ll let other wantoks and friends interested in PNG music know about the band by directing them to your blog, off course.

    Any chance of the Paluai dancers accompanying the Jubals.


  6. Hey Georgina, no worries…we also have a Facebook Group called ‘RokRok Music‘ where we put up all the updates on music etc. So if you and you’re friends are on FB, then join us there for announcements.

    Not sure about the Palui dancers, but hell if you have PNG dancers in the UK they should join Tribe of Jubal from there. Would be cheaper I guess…anyway just a suggestion…

  7. Hi Emmanuel,
    PNG dancers in UK joining the Tribe of Jubal? Unsure, what with two left feet messing the style and authenticity of the band. Too risky, I’d say..

    Won’t bother you with more posts on this subject.

    Keep up the good work, I enjoy reading your blog at least four days a week beside the post courier online and two other blogs listed on your blog.


  8. Surely we must have some PNG artists or dancers in the UK??? But feel free to post whatever you want, that’s what the blog is for.

    Thanks again for your comments, its really helpful in giving me an insight into what the UK may want.

    You have a top day!!

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