My tribe is the major tribe of Wagadagam (Urpi kigu poeyadhras) on the island of Mabuyag in the Torres Strait. My Tribal wind is Kuki gub (North-West Wind). My major totem is the Crocodile (Koedal).I wrote Bigger, Better, Stronger the first time I moved away from my home in the Torres Strait. This was a very emotional time for me as it was the first time I wasn’t surrounded by my culture. The song initially was about escaping the everyday routine of living on a small island and becoming more proactive in life. It then evolved into a more reflective attitude towards my culture. I needed to leave my comfort zones and experience another way of life to fully appreciate and understand my roots.
Penrhyn Island, Cook Islands, This song depicts the recent discovery of a family member and details the meeting for the first time of our long lost brother/cousin/uncle. Although a joyful reunion, it was filled with sadness when he left to return to the islands. We are at peace now knowing that he exists and that our bond spans beyond time and distance.
“Doin’ Me Right”
Australian Aboriginal Bundjalung, Tweed Heads South Queensland, Juru – Ayr down to Bowen area North Queensland and South Sea Island, Tanna Island, Tafea Province, Vanuatu“Doin’ me Right” is a cry/statement from my heart. As a young Indigenous man I have been taught to respect my Elders and listen to their advice and guidance. I have followed my elders lessons, instructions guidance and as I grew up I realised that the lessons and guidance from my elders were given to me to help prepare me for ‘Manhood’ so that I now can make my own decisions and begin to do what I know is right for my life but at the same time say thank you to the elders for all they have taught me and their lessons in life.
Bougainville, Papua New Guinea
My father, who was a well-known solo folk artist in PNG, wrote this whilst he was courting my mother. James Bond movies were prevalent at the time, hence the reference to 007. In PNG culture, when you like someone, you do not write letters to tell them, you write songs. I re-arranged and revived this song in tribute to him.
This song speaks about the simplicity of life, that which has been given to us from up above, is always the most important, and with our daily lives and routine, busyness and work, we sometimes forget, and we must always remember to stop, reflect, look, listen and appreciate the environment around us, and connect with this place that we call home.
Australian Aboriginal Western “Gu Gu Yelanji”, Cape York Peninsula‘Grateful’ is a short story about the highs and lows of life and being a Murri man making connections with spiritual signs that bind us as Aboriginal people (Bama).
Saipipi, Savaii – Fagalii, Apia, Upolu – Samoa. This is dedicated to all our beautiful tamaiti (children). I always found myself too hung over to spend time playing with my son. It was the catalyst for musical inspiration and for me to give up drinking some years ago.
“To Be There“
Australian Aboriginal – Bundjalung Tribe, Tweed Heads South Queensland, Juru Tribe, Ayr down to Bowen area North Queensland and South Sea Islander, Yakel Tribe, Tafea Province, VanuatuMy grandmother’s father was a South Sea Island man taken from Tanna Island, Vanuatu and brought to Australia to work in the sugar cane (known as Blackbirding). He often sang of going back home, but never did make it back to his island home. So he sang Nee-Mah-Tah (To be there) to his daughters and now his daughters sing it to their children and grandchildren. To this day, no-one in our family has returned to fulfill the wish of our great grandfather who they called “Nusik” so we sing the song to share his longing of one day returning home.
Australian Aboriginal Eastern Kuku Yalanji Nation, ‘Buru’, Julay Warra and Kubirri Warra Clans, Daintree and Mossman regions, Far North Queensland.‘Way Home’ stems from a story my Ngajun (father), penned illustrating the importance of obedience and where to turn when you’re in a crisis situation. ‘Way Home’ was composed conveying the same message, with the hope of highlighting the need to respect, listen and learn from our elders. These lessons have rung true in my life’s journey and, without the knowledge, understanding, direction and guidance of my elders, both past and present, I guess I would still be playing ‘stuck-in-the-mud’.
Vocalist for Dear Darling
Papua New Guinean heritage from the Tolai Tribes People of Rabaul, situated in the East New Britain Province of Papua New Guinea.(Vocalist for Dear Darling, writing by Ben Hakalitz).
Torres Strait Islander, Australian Aboriginal.In essence, there is no place like home. Regardless of where I am, where I go, I know that home is found in memories and in the loving arms of those who love me.
(Guest Artist) “Cry Free”
Matebele heritage, Zimbabwe, Africa.The first time I returned to Africa after a number of years, I was saddened to witness wide-spread blindness due to no money to have cataracts removed, mothers needing their young children to beg for money, homeless people sleeping openly in the streets, some once renowned men in the community, reduced to begging to get by. The experience awakened in me, a cry for my people.
Australian Aboriginal – Butchella Cubbi Cubbi Wiri and Torres Strait Islander, Erub (Darnley) IslandMother Ailan is a song about home and family. I wrote this song for people belonging to an island family and community. Earth is our mother and father, our creator. Island culture is unique and because of isolation from mainstream, we hold on to and maintain our cultural identity. This the reason why many of us return to connect to the place which holds our roots.
Australian Aboriginal “Djabugay Bulawai Clan”
Barron River Cairns and Tableland Region “Kuku Ya’o” Pascoe River Region, Cape York PeninsulaFamily is the root system from where all people grow and for Aboriginal people, life revolves around the family and the intertwining of relationships. “Biri Didan” is about leaving the family behind and the pain the family goes through in trying to let go.
Samoan, Cook Island, Born and raised in New Zealand originally wrote this whilst teaching in the Torres Strait. I learned there that in 1871, the people of the Torres Strait were blessed with the mighty gift of Christianity brought to them by missionaries from the Pacific Islands. This message came during the season of the south-winds accompanied with light showers known as Zei, and the event in history is called, ‘The Coming of the Light’. Heavenly Teardrops is about Heavenly Father manifesting His love by showering teardrops of joy, to cleanse, to give life and light to His children. His gift of love was and is the message of His Son, Jesus Christ; He is love, gives joy, hope, purpose and peace.
My grandparents were Christian pioneers in their respective villages and made great sacrifices to follow Christ with full purpose of heart. My parents exemplify that same faith. I have learned for myself that having faith is hoping for things, which are not seen, which are true. This hope gives me peace. My family is rooted in faith and in both, I am grounded!