George Telek at the Auckland Queen Street Sing-Sing
Yesterday, I was privileged to hop on a plane and fly to Auckland, New Zealand with one purpose – to watch George Telek perform live as a part of the Wantok Musik Foundation’s Sing-Sing group tour. It was magic – pure magic.
For those of you who have been following Tubuans & Dukduks you will know that I’ve covered the Auckland Queen Street Sing-Sing before and that David Bridie, Sing-Sing’s Musical Director, has regularly commented on my Blog. So, when the opportunity arose for me to go and actually be at the concert – how could I refuse?
I wasn’t exactly too sure what to expect from Sing-Sing but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Sing-Sing had amazingly been able to weave together the musical threads of a number of unique cultures throughout Melanesia – from West Papua, Indigenous Australia, the Torres-Strait, and PNG. The music produced and performed was invigorating. It had the young vibrant harmonies and the ancient strong resonance – together and united, both facets presented a refreshing sound which the World cannot judge to be anything else but simply Melanesian.
There were two memorable moments of the concert that sent the large vocal PNG community present into wild dancing spasms. The first was when the distinct beats of the Manus Dance were incorporated in a Sing-Sing composition. It didn’t matter whether or not you were from Manus – sapos yu bilong PNG, yu bin danis!
The second moment was when the Sing-Sing concert was officially “over”. All the musicians had bowed and had left the stage. The large crowd that had filled Auckland’s main road was ready to leave when out of the blue George Telek hopped back on the stage to perform a “PNG Special” – one of his Tolai rock hits. It was mayhem.
It’s not often that our musicians get to tour the world to perform so David Bridie, as Musical Director of Sing-Sing, should be credited for his hard work and commitment in bringing together and promoting a group of musicians so diverse in culture yet so similar in so many other ways. The World Music Institute should also be credited for funding Sing-Sing’s tour to the USA which will commence in May, 2009.
Special thanks to the Auckland Sosel Task Fos for hosting me and for holding the Bung Kaikai to welcome and honour George Telek and Tony Subam.