Exploring The Music Of Papua New Guinea

This article was written by Chelsea from Veritable Treasure, who is running a series of posts to introduce the country of Papua New Guinea to children in an effort to raise funds for a teacher training in Papua New Guinea she has organized for September 2013.  We will be randomly selecting two fundraiser participants to receive a copy of Beautiful Rainbow World a beautiful CD which you can find details about at the end of the post!  Be sure to donate before the deadline of 18 June!

Papua New Guinea is a rich country with beautiful wildlife, natural resources, food, and culture.  In this post I will share a few highlights about music in this vast country.

Traditional celebrations called a “sing-sing” include singing, dancing plus food and gift-giving.  Flutes, drums, and other percussion instruments are most often used.  Many times a “leader” establishes a song and then the song has many rounds where other singers add in harmonies and layers, as in a round.

In recent years there have been quite a few Cultural Festivals established in regions around the country, such as the one featured below, where numerous tribal dance, costumes, music, and artifacts are on display.

As for current popular music, you will hear a lot of reggae influence and songs using the “offbeats.”  In this music video “Kiri-O” you will see a lot of typical Port Moresby (the largest city in PNG) scenes:
•    Red mouths from chewing Betle Nut.  Betel nut has a mild stimulant effect and is chewed to relieve stress and reduce hunger.  It can be found on most street corners.
•    People wearing bilums (woven bags) around  their necks.  Worn by men and women alike, bilums come in many shapes, styles, and sizes and can be worn around the neck, on the shoulder, across the neck over the shoulder, or on the forehead so the bilum falls on the back.
•    Cars going around roundabouts on the street.  There are only a few red lights in the whole city of Port Moresby due to common breaks in electricity.
•    Laundry hanging up to dry.  Most laundry is washed by hand and dried in the sun.
•    Walking on the streets.  Most people use walking to get around; very few have cars.
•    Children wearing the PNG flag.  The PNG flag is a great source of pride and can be seen on many clothes and personal items (umbrellas, bags, etc) that locals use.
•    You will also notice the lyrics are a mix of English and Tok Pisin (Pidgin) which is quite common.

To check out the other posts which will give you some more background about the Papua New Guinea (including pictures of children!), go to this page to find the series.



One thought on “Exploring The Music Of Papua New Guinea

  1. Pingback: Learning About Papua New Guinea - Multicultural Kid Blogs

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