The Importance of Political Expression in PNG Music
There has been a long history between music and politics, particularly political expression in music. This expression can use anti- establishment or protest themes, including anti-war songs, and can also use pro-establishment ideas such as national anthems, patriotic songs, and political campaigns.
Many of these types of songs could be described as topical songs. Unlike many other types of music, political music is not usually ambiguous, and is used to portray a specific political message. While the political message in political music is apparent, it is usually in the political context of the time it was made – which makes understanding the historical events and time that inspired the music essential to fully understanding the message in the music. Since political music is meant to be heard by the people, it is often meant to be popular.
In a country where access to our leaders is somewhat “restricted” (in comparison to other First Wold Commonwealth democracies) due to a number of reasons – cultural reasons, geography, lack of education, illiteracy etc., political expression in music is extremely important. It allows the people of Papua New Guinea to express their thoughts and views via a medium that not only offers them the opportunity to do so but also allows them to effectively share their views with others. And if the band has a cult following, such as Barike, then the possibility of their opinions being heard and maybe even addressed significantly increases – more so than if they simply wrote a letter to the Prime Minister.
The following is one of my favourite politically charged Tok Pisin songs:
Giaman Tu i Orait by BARIKEYu kam na campaign na yu tok aut Long ol policy bilong pati bilong yu Yu promis na yu tok strong olsem bai mipela votim yu
CHORUS:Sapos yu tok bai yu wokim aid post (yu mas wokim) Sapos yu tok bai yu wokim skul (yu mas wokim) Sapos yu tok bai yu wokim airstrip (yu mas wokim) Yes, yu mas wokim tu
Mipela bilip na votim yu Taim yu kamap Bik Man mipela nomo lukim yu Ol progek yu tok bai yu wokim I go wara nating Mipela laikim wanpela gutpela man I save tok tru na i no save giaman Mipela ol pipol i lis pinis long tromoi vote nating
(CHORUS)Sapos yu tok bai yu wokim aid post Sapos yu tok bai yu wokim skul Sapos yu tok bai yu wokim haus sik Yes, yu mas wokim tu Sapos yu tok bai yu wokim rot Sapos yu tok bai yu wokim bris Sapos yu tok bai yu wokim airstrip Yes, yu mas wokim tu
~ by Tavurvur on January 12, 2009.
Posted in PNG Music
Tags: Barike, Campaigns, Democracy, Establishment, Expression, Firedance, Freedom of Speech, Gaiman Tu i Orait, Message, Music, National Anthem, Papua New Guinea, Patriotism, Pidgin English, PNG, Politics, Protest, Songs, Tok Pisin