Tag Archives: Music

Melanesian Wantok Showcase – Art and Music

Melanesian Wantok Showcase

Limited edition prints, paintings and bliums, a collection of art at the Redlands performance Art Centre, Queensland.

I am proud to announce that a collection of my artwork (art, textiles and pencil drawing) will be in a community art exhibition to celebrate the Melanesian Wantok Showcase. This exhibition opens in the Redland Performing Art Centre in Cleveland tomorrow. The music concert and will be on September 17, featuring musicians from Papua New Guinea and other Melanesian countries.

Contemporary Textile Art – Papua New Guinea

J.K.Leahy Textile. A contemporary interpretation of the traditional tapa cloth printed on cotton. 2017.

Kalem – Warrior Woman fashion. Designed by J.K.Leahy. A selection of leather handbags and silk dresses on exhibition with natural fibre woven bags in Wantok Melanesian Showcase. Redland Performing Art Centre, Queensland.

Pen and Ink Drawings – Dr Pomasiu Lawes

This is the first time ever artist Dr Pomasiu Lawes will be showing his pen and ink drawings. This blog will feature some of these artwork and stories that accompany each one, in the near future.


A taste of Melanesia in Cleveland

Head along to Redland Performing Arts Centre (RPAC) for a night of Melanesian music and culture when WANTOK Musik performs on Sunday 17 September, on the weekend of Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) Independence. This showcase celebration is a partnership in community cultural development with the Quandamooka Festival and is an exciting opportunity to experience a coming together of Quandamooka and Melanesian communities, artists and musicians.

The evening will feature a fabulous line-up of contemporary and traditional Melanesian musicians.  George Telek from PNG will headline the concert, bringing his signature blend of contemporary and traditional Melanesian rhythms to the RPAC stage. Telek will be joined by Charles Maimarosia from the Solomon Islands who will astound you with his talent on the pan pipes, Tio from Vanuatu with his amazing vocals, ukulele, guitar and violin skills, and Ben Hakalitz from PNG who will bring 30 years of musical experience and amazing technique on the drums to the night of celebration. They will be joined by a number of other musicians from PNG and West Papua, for an amazing night of indigenous music and culture.

There will also be the opportunity to enjoy some Melanesian food on the RPAC Piazza, and browse the art and craft display in the Concert Hall Foyer, to complete your night of Melanesian indulgence. This art and craft display curated by PNG artist/curator Joycelin Leahy in partnership with RPAC’s Elaine Seeto will be open to the public throughout the month of September, to give you more opportunity to enjoy the pieces on display. The exhibition opens tomorrow (September 4).

Don’t miss this coming together of Melanesian, Quandamooka and wider Redland communities at RPAC Sunday 17 September at 6.30pm.  Tickets are $30 and can be booked via www.rpac.com.au or by calling the RPAC Box Office on 3829 8131 (booking fees are $4.10 by phone and $5 online per transaction).

Michael Kiwanuka – Music for the Soul

Thank you Slipper Edge for sharing the music of this fantastic talent, Micheal Kiwanuka.

Of Ugandan parentage, who escaped the Amin regime (1971-1979), Kiwanuka (born May 3,  1987) grew up in Muswell Hill, North London. He attended Fortismere School after completion of A-levels and studied in the School of Media, Arts and Design at the University of Westminister.

Kiwanuka acknowledged that his music has influences of great musicians such as Otis Redding, Bill Withers, Bob Dylan, Jack Johnson and Eric Bibb.

Official website and tours.

Love – The Only Way to Express Love is to Show it


Love is best expressed when you show it from your heart. Isn’t it just like story-telling? Here is how Lizz Wright puts us straight in her song “Speak Your Heart”. Lizz Wright has been one of my favourite singers for a long time. She composes and sings jazz, blues, R&B, gospel and soul music. I discovered her by accident, while listening to music at a store over a decade ago. I hope you like her too. This is her official website. She is also on Wiki and can be easily found on Google and Youtube.com

The Call of Garamut

The garamut is a slit gong made out of wood. The instrument is widely used in Melanesian cultures. Garamuts are used for traditional dancing and performances. It is also used to call and gather. Communities used the garamut to call meetings, call school children to classrooms and congregations to churches.

Picture by Pioneer Bible Translators. Calling his congregation to church; one of the most common uses of garamuts.

In Papua New Guinea the instrument, depends on its size and how shallow the slit is, gives a distinctive sound. It can also be played very rhythmically and the sounds makes you want to dance.

A garamut in Brooklyn Museum.

In the first video clip, I am delighted to show my own people dancing the siak, a slow motion dance in Salamaua, Morobe Province. A single and sometimes two garamuts would lead the siak accompanying kundu drums. Pay attention to the sound of the garamut – the largest wooden instrument in background.

The second video below is from Manus Province. For their performances, Manus dancing requires a collection of garamuts of various sizes and played together. The biggest drum (deepest) leads the rhythm and song.

A Haunting Songbird

In 1990, Wassoulou singer Sangare became a superstar in West Africa with Moussolou, which sold an astonishing 250,000 copies (many more were likely pirated). She received much of her attention for writing and singing lyrics that specifically addressed concerns of women in modern West African society, such as the conflict between marriage and personal freedom; not a shocking subject in the Western world, perhaps, but a pioneering one for the popular music of the region. Western listeners who can’t understand the lyrics will be drawn in by her mellifluous vocals and smooth, circular compositions, which use full arrangements without sounding over-produced. Both traditional instruments and electric guitars/basses are prominently used (without getting in each other’s way) on her 1993 release Ko Sira, her most widely available recording in the U.S.

Born to Sing

I love World Music and have always found the South African music very lifting. Recently, I discovered the music of Peki Emelia Nothembi Mkhwebane from South Africa. She is an award-winning Ndebele musician. Her singing, dancing and dressing embraced a multifaceted picture of the culture of the Ndebele in South Africa. The origins of the Ndebele tribe are not known, although they are generally recognised as forming part of the Nguni tribes of Southern Africa. Nothembi has travelled the world with her beautiful music. It is the right moment for me to share a beautiful thing (her music) with you because I have to return to work tomorrow.

Profile of Peki Emelia “Nothembi” Mkhwebane

Peki Emelia “Nothembi” Mkhwebane was born in Carolina in Mpumalanga on 1 January 1953. Orphaned at the age of five, she was raised by her grandparents who could not afford her formal education. Most of her early life was spent looking after her grandfather’s cattle and sheep – their limited means of livelihood at that time. It was no mean task for a girl.

Mkhwebane’s family loved music and nurtured her first love for Ndebele songs. Her grandmother taught her to play a reed flute, while her sister exposed her to isikumero. Her uncle taught her to play a home-made guitar. In this hub of Ndebele music and culture, Mkhwebane learned a lot about the richness of her culture and later started a musical group called “Izelamani zako Nomazilyana”, which performed at cultural gatherings and weddings.

With time, she bought a keyboard and guitar to compose songs, which she recorded. Despite her burgeoning achievements, she still struggled to find a recording company, particularly as one of the major snags was her illiteracy, which proved to be a hindrance in securing proceeds from the recording breakthroughs.

Never one to despair, and propelled by her passion and talent, Mkhwebane subsequently defeated most of these obstacles to become a world-renowned, prolific singer and performer of Ndebele music. She has travelled extensively abroad, performing in countries such as the United States of America (USA), Austria, Germany, Portugal, Australia and France. In 1988, she performed in New York and London and received an award for the Best Ndebele Song.

(Information courtesy of The Presidency)

Pidil: A Small but Powerful Instrument

Published on Sep 17, 2014 by komnairima

I love interesting sounds, particularly  unusual musical instruments from Papua New Guinea. Here is the Pidil, a rare instrument belonging to the Gunantuna of The Blanche Bay Area of New Britain. I have read that this instrument is played by men during ritual ceremonies to attract young women into the bush. We can guess what that means. 

I do not have any more information on the object except for the sound of it which is on the YouTube link below. The brown, almost finely polished seed, (it’s naturally like that), is common in PNG in coastal areas. In my province we remove the inside and hollow the seed before we use it as a decoration on string bags (bilum). We also  string a bunch of the seeds together to make it another musical instrument, that sounds like a shaker. The women and men carry the bunch and shake them to create the sounds that accompany the kundu drums, singing and dancing.

Rabaul is the famous centre of New Britain. It is known for the Japanese occupation during the world  war and also for its volcanoes. Since January 1942 the Japanese had held Rabaul on Blanche Bay, the flooded crater of an extinct volcano which gives deep water almost to the shore. The regional area and the province itself is rich in culture and heritage. The Pidil in New Britain has a longer story behind it. I dare not ask, I am a woman, but, someone from this area may offer us some follow-up story for this blog in the future. For now, click on the link to listen to its sound.

The Melody That Stole Me

Anhang 2

“The music of the “2 Days and a Year” album tells stories of the world of daydreaming, falling snow, sunlight glimmering on the water, night skies, and not least, the value of the fragile moment,” said Jens Felder.

Imagine taking all those complexities and depths of nature, seasons, feelings and thoughts then combining it all into music. No wonder the music sounded so good. I guess that is what all artists strive for when creating something wonderful.

When I first heard Jens Felder play 2 Days and a Year,  a few weeks ago, I let this melody steal me. I wanted it to. It was a piece of music that I could go places with.  I love music and I have a large collection. hen’s is a combination of many types of music from many parts of the world. I played Jen’s music over several times, just to see if I could get tired of it. I didn’t. I don’t mean this in a negative way. Part of me wanted to play it again, but the other part kept wondering why I wanted more. I do not know how to explain it in words. I am sure every once in a while, we find something beautiful and it affects us. Life is beautiful and mysterious. I could not imagine life without music. 

Like everything we do in life, there is a story. In Jen’s story, his music is his life story.  I could not write his story better, therefore, I left my interview follow in Jen’s own words:

I am playing guitar for over 30 years now. I can’t remember the first time I had a guitar under my fingers. The feeling is still very present. When I held the guitar, I knew immediately that it was exactly what I was missing in my life. Playing music feels like a meditative experience, like “being in the moment“. The silence is expectation and excitement, and gets filled with sound. The silence returns images and echoes back, what gives me great joy and peace. My goal was and is, to communicate the emotions I experience in the music through my instrument.
My heroes were the old masters and so I studied classical music for many years.  I completed a postgraduate study with Andreas Higi at the music college in Trossingen and attended various master-classes by i.e. Frank Bungarten, Carlo Marcione and the amazing Aniello Desiderio.
The learning was followed by many solo concerts with classical programs. I was fortunate to play in chamber music ensembles with violin and vocals and also worked as a soloist with orchestras.
I now live with my family in southern Germany and work as a freelance artist and music teacher. The old masters are still my good friends, but now I play my own music. In my pieces melds classical music with elements of world music. You can hear African or Asian modes and even some nods to rock music all within the context of solo classical guitar playing. It feels like a trip around the world with the language of classical music.
As a composer, I have worked with various artists from different regions of the world, including also music for short films.
In early December, I published my first solo guitar album “2 days and a year”, available on iTunes and Amazon as a download.
The title piece “2 Days and a Year” is a story about time perception in music. I have written this piece in 2 days, but the emotional experiences have accompanied and influenced my music all year thereafter. So this piece has become the title track of my album. I’ve written a text, which describes the emotions of this time (also in the booklet of my album):

“Time is different in music. Close and friendly it is
drifting by – sometimes flying, sometimes even
standing still, but never passing. Nothing gets lost –
the first tone is not older than the last one.

All music is a child of its time, but not bound by time.
It arises from moments and lives in people. Musicians
capture that moment in time and listeners make
the music their own. These moments are present, and alive.

iTunes link to “2 days and a year” album: https://itunes.apple.com/de/album/2-days-and-a-year/id946450529?uo=4

Soundcloud link to the “2 days and a year” piece: https://soundcloud.com/jens-felger/2-days-and-a-year