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Photos and Scenery of Papua New Guinea We welcome your photos of Papua New Guinea in here. This is an exclusively photo only area. Comments or questions should go into the Tourism Discussion area.

 
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  #11  
Old 03-02-2002, 09:43 PM
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Music

Kundu Drum Player:
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  #12  
Old 23-02-2002, 12:20 PM
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Buruka Tau

Buruka Tau, August, 1999:

Story by Pat Matbob, Pictures by John Pangkatana:

He has shares the stage with superstars such as Bonjovi and Jimmy Cliff and performed for dignitaries like the President of France. Yet, he is almost unknown at home.

The Group of excited young kids gathered around him, chattering incessantly, as they took their places on the floor.

"Hands in the air,", came the command, and all the hands shot up. Wve your hands. Dozens of fingers fluttered about.

This was a pre-school class at Murray International getting ready for their half hour music lesson for the day. Although they were unaware, they were amongst the few privileged children in Papua New Guinea who were able to learn music at an early age.

They were also unaware that their teacher was one of Papua New Guinea's top musicians and the best keyboard player ever produced in this country - Buruka Tau.

But watching Buruka in class with the children, you could never tell. As a trained teacher, he is at home in the classroom as well, imparting the basics of ear and vocal training to his eager young charges.

Half an hour later, it is all over. As I walked over to him for a chat, Buruka is excited by the ability of his young students to pick up basic music skills so quickly. Then he added with a sign, "I wish all our Papua New Guinea children can get the opportunity to learn music at such an early age".
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  #13  
Old 23-02-2002, 12:41 PM
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Buruka's Magic Touch

"We have the talents, the skills, we can be as good as anyone in the world," he added, almost forecfully. I couldn't agree with him more.

This is Buruka Tau, a gifted musician whose musical talent is world-class. He is maestro on the keyboards who has toured the world many times performing on the instrument - most recently with Australian group Yothu Yindi.

Still he prefers the simple life. Like a true artist, he is simple at heart and has a deep love for him home country which he always returns to for the easy going, quiet life.

The irony of it all is that when he is travelling, he is treated like a superstar - limousines waiting for him on the tarmac. But when he is at home, he is virtually unknown.

Buruka has been a fine ambassador for PNG all his life and through his talents has promoted PNG as much, if not, more than any officially appointed ambassador.

As an example, he cited his meeting with Jimmy Cliff.

"I said 'brata, yu orait' (brother, you alright) and Jimmy Cliff thought I was from the Carribean."

Jimmy thought Buruka had spoken to him in Carribean pidgin.

"However, when he learnt I was from PNG, he was shocked. He never thought there were balack people living in our part of the world," Buruka laughed.

I had known Buruka for almost 19 years, and behind that friendly Motuan face, lies an incredible wealth of musicala talent and creativity. It is Buruka's creativity as an artist that has made him special. His creativity draws from the life around him, and from the nation's rich cultural heritage and oozes out in sounds and rhythms through his magic fingers.

But that doesn't mean he hasn't got time for other forms of music. In fact, to earn a living, he has played jazz, both locally and overseas, and has done studio work apart from teaching music.

As a Papua New Guinean artist, his heart longs to perform music that's essentially Papua New Guinean, that draws from his traditions and culture, yet presented with all the talents, skills and technology available from the modern world. And the more he travels, the greater his heart cries out for a Papua New Guinean indentity in music.

It all started at the National Art School for Buruka. He was a music student and a member of Sanguma - the most creative and innovative group ever to come out of PNG:

Buruka Tau, in the background with Tony Subam (centre) and Thomas Kamboi (foreground) studying music at the National Art School in 1981.
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  #14  
Old 23-02-2002, 12:58 PM
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Buruka's Magic Touch

The Sanguma magic, from their origins in 1977, captured the imagination of the nation and inspired PNG's new generation of musicians to look back at their traditional culture with interest.

Sanguma was no ordinary music group. It was a cultural movement; a powerful expression of nationalism; of reviving and appreciating our rich traditional cultural heritage. It was a movement seeking an identity in music for Papua New Guinea to take its place amongst the cultures of the world.

Buruka was a central part of it all. As the group's keyboard player - especially, the piano - he was the main man around which the whole Sanguma music revolved.

To interpret the rhythms of Manus, or Boungainville, or to create an accompaniment to a highlands traditional song that pitches into falsettos would be a daunting task for any accomplished musician. But Buruka relished the task. It was agold mine for his creative mind to exploit and express these ancient ideas in modern music. The result was Sanguma.

The Sanguma sound was never heard before in PNG, nor overseas, and music critics had a rough time trying to classify it. Finally, they settled for a convenient title - ethnic jazz rock.

Unfortunately, for Buruka, Sanguma folded in the mid eighties after spending some time in the US from their base in Denver, Colarado.

Buruka certainly misses those times when they were at the creative best.

"I tell Tony (Tony Subam, a founding member of Sanguma) that all the time. We started it, don't you forget that, but we chucked it away because we could have tinfish and rice so that we could feed ourselves, he said almost bitterly.

Unfortunately, it is true for Sanguma and for all other artists in PNG. In the end, they have to do the 'bread and butter stuff' to survive. This is a life Buruka has known so well.

But a man of such vast talent did not have to wait long. A few years ago he was spotted by the Australian band, 'Yothu Yindi' during a concert in Port Moresby. Then it was off again into the big time - this time as the keyboard man for Yothu Yindi.

Together with another Papua New Guinean drummer, Ben Hakalits, the duo have toured the world several times with Yothu Yindi and playing alonside superstars, soaking up the fame of the world music industry.

Unfortuantely, in August last year, Buruka fell ill following a freak incident in which a blue fly penetrated and infected one of his ears. This required a major surgery in Australia, and since recovering, he has been home in PNG with his family.

It is surprising though for a man who has achieved so much and has the potential to do even more, that fame is furthest on his mind. In fact, it has got nothing to do with fame, but with his love for music.

"My heart is there, I've been in the business now for 20 years".

Unintentionally, many people annoy him when they compare him to the local music stars.

"People say but Buruka, all these guys are recording hit songs".

"Is this what it is all about ?" he asked sadly.

Buruka's experience out in the interantional music scene has helped him to see many things.

He has been thinking seriously about how we can develop a music industry in Papua New Guinea that can support our local musicians and expose their talents internationally.

"I support what the music industry is doing here. I think they are doing a fantastic job. But how do we get co-operation and support from the authorities ?"

"Our culture is so unique. We could create an industry here that could bring everybody here to our country," he said.

"It is high time we looked at these things and the skills of our people. There are very talented people here. But where do we go next?"

"Our country does not have the infrastructure to support a music industry."

His main concern is that the authorities in PNG are giving little attention to developing the arts in the country.

"I want to highlight things that people can be aware of at the top level".

"You know at this time of crisis, you know what will sell the country well?" The arts. It is a very positive thing, Music unites. But why isn't there an infrastructure ?

"I'd like to see Government create infrastructure for entertainment here."

The biggest thing is to let our people know that things like that can be achieved.

Buruka has already shown what other talented Papua New Guineans can achieve. In fact, he is adamant that we have very talented people in the country who only need proper exposure to achieve what he has achieved, or do even greater things.
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  #15  
Old 23-02-2002, 01:14 PM
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awwwww nice story...Thanks Aussy'.

I remember the Sanguma Band....they had some cool songs.

Although i never knew they spent some time in the U.S..

And yes, he's right there should be some way of improving the music industry in Png,,so maybe one day , there might be a Png song hit the #1 spot on the Aussy charts or even better American..lol.....hmmm.

btw ,Aussy you have great pics',do u take them yourself?
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  #16  
Old 24-02-2002, 07:46 PM
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Music

Basil Greg
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  #17  
Old 26-02-2002, 01:53 PM
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Moses Tau

Moses Tau is a popular musician here in PNG:
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