Tag Archives: Papua New Guinea

Helicopters in music encyclopedias


The cross-volume search capacity of our new database RILM Music Encyclopedias offers some quirky surprises—for example, this resource currently includes nine different music-related articles with references to helicopters. These include entries on Madonna, Mickey Rooney, and the following excerpt from the article “Highland region of Papua New Guinea” in The Garland encyclopedia of world music:

“The texts [of girls’ coming-of age songs] address topics broadly sorted in four sets: daily routine, recalling netted bags (made by all women), sores (irritated by flies), and pleasure over good food (grown or gathered); unusual events, like sighting a helicopter, European missionaries’ arrival, and death in a hospital; desires, including the romantic, with meanings often hidden in metaphor, but also the adventuresome, like wanting to ride in a vehicle; and the coming-of-age performance itself speaking of dancing together, laughing together, and becoming adults.”

Above, an organization that searches for new species in Papua New Guinea by helicopter—perhaps the subject of the sighting; below, a performance by the Girl Guides Association of Papua New Guinea.

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Filed under Australia and Pacific islands, Curiosities, RILM

Telek, Bridie, and schismogenesis


In early 1997 the Australian label Origin Records released Telek, a collaboration between the popular Tolai vocalist George Mamua Telek and the Australian keyboard player and producer David Bridie that was packaged as a debut recording for Telek, even though he was already well known in his native Papua New Guinea.

A repackaged and resequenced version released by Origin later that year and titled Go long we long lon bush won critical acclaim, prompting yet another repackaged and resequenced release shortly thereafter.

These collaborations exemplify a positive and productive outcome of what Steven Feld has termed a schismogenetic relationship between the West and the non-West, indicating that such syncretic projects need not collapse difference, and may even produce a complementary development of existing local characteristics.

This according to “Questions of origin: George Telek and David Bridie’s collaborative recordings” by Denis Crowdy and Philip Hayward (Kulele: Occasional papers on Pacific music and dance III [2001] pp. 85–105). Below, a Telek–Bridie collaboration.

Related article: A lullaby for world music

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Filed under Popular music