Tuesday, 24 March 2009

New review in Songlines magazine

We've just had a a new review published in Songlines Magazine. Thanks to Jill Turner for writing such a nice review of our CD Ninalik Ndawi

Lani Singers Ninalik Ndawi
Dancing Turtle Records DTR 013
Full Price

**** four stars

Stone-age songs of defiant resistance

Ninalik Ndawi is a collection of 15 original compositions, mainly in a string band style, but punctuated by three outstanding and haunting plain vocal harmonies, 'Waiyaowa', 'Umaiyek Dearowod' and 'Yieowi': These are sacred songs of nature, steeped in highland traditions and referred to affectionately by the band as their 'stone age' songs. They're evocative of a time before European colonialism and the current Indonesian occupation, when little had changed for the people of West Papua.

Benny and Maria Wenda - the Lani Singers - have been granted political asylum in England and are part of the West Papuan government in exile and run the Free West Papua campaign. Bonny, orphaned in an Indonesian bombing raid, became an influential leader of his people. Resisting the occupation, he survived two assassination attempts and escaped imprisonment on treason charges, for carrying the Bintang Kajora. The flag, a symbol of hope for a free West Papua is used as a striking backdrop on their album cover. Freedom fighters helped reunite Benny and Maria in 2003, in the refugee camps of Papua New Guinea, where Maria, also facing death threats, had fled with their new born baby. Maria composed all the songs here and 'Elenginro; written during Benny's imprisonment, is characteristic of the passionate raw roots music that ignites the spirits of resistance, hope and determination. Maria's gentle guitar strumming creates a rhythm over which she delivers her vocals, sometimes gently, sometimes with a sense of urgency as in 'Wologwe; singing her heart out whilst Bonny contributes vocal harmonies and picks out a melody on the ukulele.

In a climate of fear, uncertainty and repression, it is a testament to human resilience that their music is not only full of catchy melodies that beg us to sing along but also retains such an air of reassurance. Featuring fascinating documentary liner notes, this album is helping to build a cultural legacy and encourage the struggle for freedom in West Papua.

Jill Turner

the Lani Singers
Songlines Magazine

Friday, 13 March 2009

bought a fridge, got a monolith

Normally I wouldn't blog about domestic events like buying a fridge but our new fridge looks so much like the monolith in 2001: a space odyessy I couldn't resist making a short film about it.

One of the most vivid memories from my childhood is seeing 2001 and having one of those 'what was that' moments. I now think that the best explanation for its meaning is that it's all about having lunch. There are so many scenes in the film of people having lunch that the only character who doesn't is HAL who subsequently goes nuts. The moral of this story is, of course, to always eat your greens and it's also appropriate that my fridge is all about having lunch too.

Having lunch at the Dawn of Man

Dave Bowman having lunch

No lunch for HAL

2001: a space odyssey IMDB


with apologies to Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C Clarke and Gyorgy Ligeti

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

This Island Earth

One of my favourite science fiction films is a b-movie called This Island Earth made in 1955. What’s not to like? It’s filmed in 3-strip Technicolor, has a mail order catalogue made out of metallic paper from which you can order an IKEA, oops, Electronics Service, Unit no.16 home-assembly interociter, a large video phone device that shoots neutrino rays, a robotic Douglas DC3, aliens from the planet Metaluna with high foreheads and white hair (no-one seems to spot that, hey! they could be aliens), flying saucers, insectoid mut-ants, an interplanetary war that ends in nuclear armageddon and for film buffs, a lead actor called Rex Reason and love interest Faith Domergue who was Howard Hughes’ girlfriend.

I tried showing this to my kids over the last half-term break, they replied “God Dad! The effects are a bit rubbish”

This Island Earth IMDB

Friday, 6 March 2009

Sounding the site ii

Well we are only a few weeks away from the Sounding the site event at the University of Sussex and things are moving apace. The project is based upon incidents in Homer's Poem, the Odyssey, and I am collaborating on an island with sculptor Terry Howe as part of the project. (See previous post for a summary)

Terry's island will consist of a raft on a beach with Odysseus asleep under a pile of leaves with my island cave about 5 metres away. Terry has taken a photo of the spot on a typical winter's day here in darkest Sussex (below). I will be providing music/sound for the cave and for Terry's beach and raft. I will post a more general overview of the project, once more becomes clear and the site and music are developed.

Photo: Terry Howe
The View from the cave, the beach is on the left and the moat will be full of water, we hope :-)