Preserving our culture through modern performances is an important step for the Arts in PNG and the Pacific in general. To protect our culture we have a slew of local and international activities, some well known ones being like the Festival of Pacific Arts which began in 1972.
But moving beyond the preservation of what our ancestors have given us everyone knows that culture itself is not a static state of affairs. Things change and obviously our environment in most cases becomes the largest contributor to how our culture, and in this case music, evolves.
I’ve selected 4 video’s below that give examples of some pioneers in this development of our music and dance. They’re all Papua New Guinean in some way or another.
This is by no means a complete list and I’d be interested to find out about other music or dance projects like this being developed or performed either in, or outside PNG.
First up, Airi Ingram (from Tribe of Jubal & DrumDrum) and DJ Dexter (from the famous ‘Since I Left You‘ Avalanches) with Grilla 2009. A very modern and interesting musical back drop to the Krump dance movement. Notice the use of garamuts in the video.
Sunameke – Pacific Island Performers
Secondly is Julia Gray’s, Sunameke , who with Kilos Kultura, Kahibaloo (James Mangohig & Jad Dapat) and Airi Ingram’s DrumDrum Crew, performed a fluid cultural mix of dance and music at Darwin Festival in 2007. They have performed numerous other performances as well but I liked this one in particular because of the way it mixed both PNG and Phillipino dances.
Ai Na Asi A Mavaru Kavamu
Third is Jazz Prodigy, Aaron Choulai developed this project through inspiration from the stunning Papuan choral tradition of Peroveta Anedia (or Prophet Songs). Its a another great example of a cross cultural mix of a 16 choir group from his village of Tatana and his Melbourne Jazz ensemble Vada.