STRANGE BIRDS IN PARADISE
A West Papuan Soundtrack.
ALBUM LAUNCH. NORTHCOTE SOCIAL CLUB
SUNDAY 14 AUGUST 2011
“Music can rise above tyranny”
“Art is a weapon and culture is life, as long as they can sing they will prevail.”
Film-maker Charlie Hill-Smith on the plight of the West Papuans
in their fight for independence from Indonesia
“The music of West Papua is unique and intoxicating in and of itself; having it on our radars is a true privilege. And Bridie’s always interesting western-meets-world interweaving commands rapt attention regardless, but in the context here that is all important… For the recording of Strange Birds, five West Papuan singers and musicians joined Bridie in Melbourne, and it’s difficult not to listen to their haunting renditions of these outlawed songs without wondering what the consequences might be for them. Try to imagine, if you possibly can, The Drones making a record overseas and then never being able to return to their native country under penalty of death because of it. As outlandish as that sounds, this is probably the fate that awaits the performers here, and, naturally enough the record takes on a complete new dimension because of it. Bridie has been quoted as saying that this record “stands alone as an album of cultural and political significance”. In any other situation, this might sound immodest. Here, though, it has the ring of absolute, undisputable truth. Will there be a more important record made this year? I highly doubt it.”
(Tony McMahon, Inpress)
On Sunday August 14 from 1-5pm, the soundtrack and DVD to the powerful and award winning political feature documentary Strange Birds in Paradise will be launched at The Northcote Social Club.
The afternoon of music will include performances from Vika and Linda Bull, The Black Orchid String Band (featuring Leah, Petra and Rosa Rumwaropen), David Bridie, Phil Wales, Black Cab, El Witeri (The Red Eyes), with appearances by MC’s Lehmo and Greg Fleet. These and other acts yet to be announced join a distinguished line up of Melanesian performers, showing their support for the freedom movement in West Papua – an issue that garners less international attention than that given to the fate of Indonesian livestock.
While the Indonesian army continues to dominate the indigenous inhabitants of West Papua, the making of this album saw five West Papuan musicians and singers gather in Melbourne to record the outlawed folk songs of West Papuan freedom fighter and musician Arnold Ap with Australian musician and film composer David Bridie.
In Strange Birds in Paradise, David Bridie interweaves his original score with the songs of Ap, carried by the remarkable voices of West Papuan performers Hein Arumisore, Jacob Rumbiak and Gillius Kogoya, and features musical collaborations with Airi Ingram and Phil Wales. These artists will also come together for the launch, joined onstage by West Papuan musicians Ronny Kareni, Frederick Yawandare, Adrianus Birif, Anselmus Pisakai and led by West Papuan leader Jacob Rumbiak.
The launch will celebrate and recognise of the work of Arnold Ap, as well as political hero Kelly Kwalik – both assassinated for bringing controversial folk songs to the people of West Papua and the world. The day will shed light on the rich musical history intrinsic to West Papuan culture, simultaneously raising awareness of the struggle faced by West Papuans, our closest neighbours, and the atrocities occurring daily in a political climate of greed, corruption and genocide.
Of the CD, Bridie says “Not just a soundtrack, Strange Birds in Paradise stands alone as an album of cultural and political significance, putting West Papua’s extraordinary music talent firmly on the contemporary music map, in the Pacific region and beyond. There are a lot of political refugees from West Papua living in Australia, and this launch is for them as much as it is for those residing in West Papua.”
Strange Birds in Paradise is an album which engages with the unique music of West Papua and champions a community who will fight to keep their cultural traditions alive in the face of extreme political oppression and widespread genocide.
What: Strange Birds in Paradise Album Launch (alongside official DVD release)
When: August 14, 1-5pm
Where: Northcote Social Club, Victoria
Tickets: $18 Presale / $22 on Door / (Concession available at door only – $15)
- Land Of The Morning Star Clip from Strange Birds in Paradise (westpapuamedia.info)