Black Paradise: Spirit of Mambesak
Don’t you love it when something unexpected happens? I was walking past the same music store as last time, and this time this CD caught my eye: Spirit of Mambesak’s Black Paradise.
Spirit of Mambesak was initially formed in the 70’s and 80’s by West Papuan artists Arnold Ap and Eddie Mofu. They understood the importance of culture and strove to use music as a medium to convey their basic human right: the freedom of expression.
Mambesak was formed to revitalise traditional West Papuan dance, music and song and eventually provided a certain colour, form and inspiration for the birth of music and dance groups throughout Papua, actively promoting and strengthening West Papuan identity. However, Arnold Ap and Eddie Mofu’s popularity and the conscious pride in being Papuan Mambesak’s music engendered, brought them to the attention of the Indonesian military who accused them of being separatists. They were finally murdered.
Today, the spirit of Mambesak endures with new faces and new songs. This album was released in 2004. I’ve included a video of the group below. The group reminded me of the West Papuan group that performed at George Telek’s Sing-Sing Concert in New Zealand.
And in case you’re wondering, the cover photo of the Bird of Paradise was actually provided courtesy of The Rainforest Habitat, Lae, PNG.
For more information on The Spirit of Mambesak, click here.