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COMMUNITY PROJECTS

Community projects sit at the very heart of the Wantok Musik Foundation. Developed in partnership with local custodians and keepers of culture, these projects document and record the richness of Melanesian and First Nation ways of life through song, ritual and performance, and through this achieve sustainable, positive outcomes for the community.

 

From participation in community events to technical skill-building, Wantok continues to invigorate, showcase and promote this widely diverse region to the world.  

Wan solwarA

Wantok Musik Foundation works with many young people in the Autonomous Region of Bouganville to build capacity and music industry knowledge among young Melanesian musicians, encourage language and culture retention and support cultural industries. One of the programs coordinated by Wantok for youth music development was the creative collaboration of Wan Solwara in early 2023. 

 

Bringing together acclaimed PNG musician Richard Mogul, two highly regarded First Nations performers from Australia Adrian Tjupurru and his son Jake Fabila, and six young musicians from Bougainville selected to participate through winning the local Voice XPLosion competition, this program emphasised the power of collaboration and connection. The six young musicians involved were Michael Dave, Ruth Maison, Walter Kerevio, Jolista Masu, Robertha Yansi and Milton Garea. 

 

Tjupurru, Jake Fabila and Richard Mogu ran workshops pertaining to cultural ownership and copyright, social media, career paths for cultural music and recording advice. The three musicians also mentored the young people to write and record a song and develop an accompanying video. This collaboration has led to the release of the track, Wan Solwara (One Ocean), which encourages people to stand up for their communities and speaks to themes of unity and coming together to face obstacles. 

 

Wan Solwara was released, distributed and promoted in March of 2023. This song then lead to performance opportunities for the Voice XPlosion performers locally for debut and NAIDOC weeks performances, while also generating free community events. This release also resulted int eh collaboration with local artist Simon Gende for the accompanying artwork for the single. 
 

The track incorporates a range of traditional and contemporary instruments including bamboo pipes, with Tjupurru on didjeribone (a cross between a didjeridu and a trombone) and rapping from Jake. Richard Mogu wrote the lyrics, and other contributors included Tsarlayse Iamu and Kawas Band.

 

Tjupurru and Jake are Djabera Djabera people of the West Australian Kimberly, and alongside this heritage Tjupurru was born in Port Moresby and has family connections to Central Province and Bougainville.  He was determined that Jake should be part of the exchange and “carry the spear forward”.

OL Sing Blong Plantesen Project

 

Ol Sing Blong Plantesen, plantation songs, brings to light the fascinating and creative tradition of Salvesen, a song and dance form that emerged from the sorrowful and alienating years of South Sea Islanders' indentured labor in the cane fields of Queensland from the 1860s to the turn of the century.

 

This release highlights the exuberant a cappella singing of Pacific Islanders and offers a glimpse into the surprising reach of African American spirituals in the late nineteenth century. 

 

Salvesen is the only known creative form to survive from the labor trade years and is still performed today in the central islands of Vanuatu. It combines African American spirituals and gospel hymns with a Vanuatu customary circular dance. Accompanied by a limited edition, extensively researched and richly illustrated book documenting the history of the music, Ol Sing Blong Plantesen is a testimony to the South Sea Islanders' capacity for turning sorrow into a lasting expression of joy. 

 

the 'enthusiastic and exhilarating renditions underscore their culture's history of transforming oppression into a righteous, optimistic and joyous noise'

The Harmoni Musik Project

In a collaboration between Wantok Musik and World Vision, PNG legend George Telek worked alongside many young people to share the message of sexual health safety and well-being. The project involved a youth workshop held in Ramu Valley to address HIV and AIDS awareness, as well as gender-based violence. This collaboration also resulted in a video of Telek and David Bridie explaining the issue in Tok Pisin, to spread the awareness throughout community. 

SONGS AGAINST GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE 

Wantok Musik artists Emily Wurramurra and George Telek both respectively released works about gender-based violence and it's impact in communities.

If you would like to support our current and future community projects, please make a donation here. Thank you for your support.

Wantok Musik Foundation is registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC).

Donations are tax deductable. Please contact us if you require an official receipt.

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