Contemporary Melanesian Song No. 2

‘Climate Change Song’ by the Ponai String Band of Ahus Island, Manus Province, Papua New Guinea [Source: YouTube]

The unique and intricate Manus stringband style and tradition continues on Ahus Island. There used to be some speculation that the rapid interlocking picking patterns were related to the garamut ensemble music of the various islands of Manus Province.

This clip depicts with clarity through close-up shots, the various elements of the style. The Ponai String Band’s nine guitars and ukulele provides an indication of why in the 1950s stringbands were known as tim gita or guitar teams. I particularly like the combination of the band “uniform” of red laplaps and the beautiful dogs’ teeth and bead jewelry.

Here are the original lyrics in Tok Pisin mixed with English, as best I can hear them:

Insait long wol tude bikpela hevi i stap

Em i climate change [X2]

Em bikpela projek long gavman, N.G.O., na wantaim grass roots

Em i sensis long weather pattern na sea em mo rise

Ol manmeri bai bagarap long solwara

Na ples tu bai bagarap

Climate change i no save kamap nating

Pasin greedy na selfishness i wokim climate change

Ol factories i contribute too

Na climate change i kamap

Inap nau i go long National Government

Create-im ol policies wantaim guidelines

Na control-im ol human activities

Long lukautim ol pipel bilong Manus na tingim Ahus

Climate change i no save kamap nating

Pasin greedy na selfishness i wokim climate change

Ol factories i contribute too

Na climate change i kamap

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