Posts Categorized: Arts & music

Fifth anniversary of peace to be celebrated in Konnou

671-konnou-crisis-gamesBy Benjamin Heriberth Noibio

At the end of 2007 the Konnou Conflict began with factions arising within the constituency itself. The faction known as WILMO (Wisai Liberation Movement), Konnou Freedom Fighters and Mekamui Deference Force (MDF) vied for power and control in the constituency.

The factions broke the constituency into pieces causing confusion in the minds of the people; lack of law and order made the situation worse.

In Early in 2008 the close down of the Buka–Buin Highway ceased services to the area and civilians suffered the most.

Women and children lacked health and education services.

I did not have a choice of freedom so I joined the faction that was domination our area; I had to live with the ones living in the bushes of Leulo Mountain without calculating the consequences of it.

I joined the MDF who were always going to and from of our camp site in the mountains of Kaitu.

By Christmas 2007 I had a message that I was selected to continue to grade 9 at Buin Secondary School. I appreciated the offer but the situation did not allow me to appear at the school.

Buin Freedom Fighters chased some Konnou students at Buin Secondary just before I was to pack my things and go. As soon as I got the message of what was happening in Buin, I turned my back and fully joined the MDF.

In the middle of February 2008, I left everything behind and went to Bishop Wade Secondary School in North Bougainville. I made my choice to get education rather than holding rifles that has no benefit but death at the end. I was fortunate to get registered as a non-selected student in Bishop Wade.

The conflict took almost five years to exist until the peace committee formed by chiefs, church elders, youth leaders and women’s leaders took a stand to end the bloodshed in Konnou.

The negotiation took almost two years with disagreement of all the factions regarding the loss of young people’s lives, both soldiers and civilians. The Konnou Peace Committee finally won the hearts of the fighters in all the factions.

On 29 November 2011, the negotiation between the factions succeeded with the agreement of ending the conflict in Konnou. Early on that day all the factions gathered in Mogoroi with representatives from ABG and the United Nations.

More than 1,000 witnesses from Konnou and other constituencies were present. It was a day of pain, sorrow and happiness as the freedom which the people so longed finally came.

The factions reconciled with forgiveness and humble heats; a monument was planted to mark the day of Konnou reconciliation and the ending of the so called Konnou Conflict. The monument (called IMI in Buin language) was planted as a shrub but now it has grown and can be seen clearly on the Mogoroi road.

Each year the day is remembered and celebrated with events like games, music (pictured:Band member practicing at Moroanamanu Village-Upper Konnou), traditional dances, and remembrance speeches.

This year the constituency will celebrate the 5th anniversary of the peace. The celebration will be marked with the Konnou Peace Cup, with local people compete in sporting competition.

The Member for Konnou, Hon. Willie Masiu, has taken the lead in organising the event and the announcement was hosted at Ugubakogu Primary school. Athletes from both Lower and Upper Konnou are preparing to socialise in games such as volleyball, soccer, marathon, bicycle race and rock show.

“This will be one means of peace and unity in the constituency,” said Maverick one of the athletes. Youth members were glad to see their new member taking the lead in uniting the people through the games.

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Human Backhoes are back!

By Dennis Kikira


Human Backhoes, Bougainville’s legendary hard and punk rock band, is making a comeback after a long due absence from the music industry in Papua New Guinea.

The band hit the airwaves in the late 1970s but their music career was halted by the onset of the Bougainville crisis.

This time the band is in full preparation to bring listeners back once more to the original string-shredding, hard and punk rock music of the 1980s.

Human Backhoes were formed in 1978 by the youths from Pakia and Siredonsi in Central Bougainville. The band gained much popularity from 1978 to 1980 where they had both international and local fans, mainly mine employees, and were highly acclaimed in hotels and clubs in Bougainville.

The band split-up in 1980 after losing its drummer, Chris Akope, to a fatal car accident. The band regrouped in 1981 as a three-piece band with new recruits Martin Basiou on bass, drummer Chris Imari and Kevin Miring as lead guitarist.

With determination, commitment and the passion to prosper, the band committed to practicing four days each week for the entire year of 1981 to strive for perfection.

After the one year absence, the band did their first performance in February 1982 at Panguna Tavern and also signed a contract with the Tavern straight afterwards.

The band was originally called The Mangroves but changed their name to the Human Backhoes to depict the sweeping social and cultural changes which gripped the youths as a result of mining in Panguna. At that time more and more youths in Bougainville were flocking into Panguna to get training and learn how to use machines such as the backhoe, while others back at home knew that nothing came easy, especially with little or no educational background. They had to depend on nothing but manpower, ‘the human backhoe’, to survive.

The band played hard-rock, punk and soft rock and signed contracts to perform in night clubs, hotels and parties in Arawa, Panguna, Loloho, Kieta and Toniva, making frequent appearances the Panguna Cricket Club, Panguna Tavern, Police Club, Kieta Hotel, Sports & Social Club, Napik Club and many others.

They regularly performed alongside Bougainville’s most popular bands, such as the Aunge Punks, SeeBees, Uni-sound from the Solomon Islands and Sirosis, the Bougainville-based German band.

Humans Backhoes band had a reputation for getting the crowd and party-goers off their feet with their original compositions, which included “Sleepless Nights” (hard-rock), “Smoltering Idiots” (punk) and
“Lonely” (soft rock). They would also play covers of hits from that era including songs by the Foreigner, ZZ Top, Steve Miller Band, Black Foot, Angels, ACDC and The Ramones to name a few. The band also performed with the Australian Aboriginal popular rock band Warumpi when they toured Bougainville.

Human Backhoes also participated in the Live Aid for Africa fundraising concert in 1985.

Early in 1989, Human Backhoes signed up a contract with Air Nuigini Club when just before travelling to Mt Hagen war broke out on Bougainville. The band got all its instruments stolen and destroyed by the security forces during this time.

This year the band is re-grouping after 26 years of absence from the music industry in Papua New Guinea in preparation for the Autonomous Bougainville Day celebration in Port Moresby and is spearheading fundraising activities to meet the costs of travel and accommodation on this tour.

One of the primary objectives of this comeback and tour is to revive the dying music industry in Papua New Guinea, as digitalized music is rapidly wiping out live and stage performance and to pass on the skills and talents to the up-coming youths to uphold the love of rock music which is the backbone of Bougainville.

The band consists of the following members: Kevin Miring (lead guitarist), Jeff Glason (vocals), Martin Basiou (bass), Terence Miring (lead rhythm guitarist), Junior Imari (bass), Patrick Miringtai (drummer) with Jacob Ienu as the band manager.

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Performers represent AROB at Pacific Games opening ceremony

599-pacific-games-bougainvilleBy Benjamin
Heriberth Noibio

A performance group from Wisai in in the frontier of Kieta has presented their traditional dance at the official opening of the 2015 Pacific Games on the evening of Saturday 4 July.

The group impressed last year during the Tuiruma Festival held in Buin and were thus chosen to perform live at the Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby, having met the selection criteria.

Women and young ladies danced with their grass skirts swaying from side to side while the men played bamboo pipes (Pisi in Buin language).

Upon their arrival they were joined by proud Bougainville students who live in Port Moresby. They said that they are happy to see the group representing Bougainville at the official opening of the 2015 Pacific Games.

599-bougainville-performersThe group travelled under the leadership of Simeon Makau and for many of them it was their first visit to Port Moresby.

The ones who were new to the place toured the national capital on Monday, while the others were in the stadiums watching the games played on that day.

The group will reside at the Papua New Guinea Education Institute (PNGEI) awaiting their final performance on Saturday night before going back to Buka in the middle of the coming week.

This group did well and their performance will surely encourage the other cultural groups back in Bougainville to stand up and participate in the coming events. This will uphold the good spirit of unity among the youth of Bougainville in the years to come.

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AROB music veteran wins TV reality competition

A long standing member of the Bougainville music community, Morris Opeti (often known as Morris Opiri), was this week announced as the winner of the Vocal Fusion reality competition hosted by EMTV.

He was awarded K50,000 for winning the competition, as well as the prestige and publicity that comes with it.

Morris’ success on Vocal Fusion has nothing to do with chance, but is the culmination of a lifetime of passion and involvement with music, living by his motto ‘bai mi die wantaim music’ (I will die with music).

For well over a decade Morris has performed live in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea and abroad. In 2013 he travelled to Gizo in the Solomon Islands  as part of the No eXit band.

He comes from a musical family, his father a recognised lead-guitarist and his brother, Jordan, a well-established musician in his own right as the lead vocalist for Emperor Rangers.

The Vocal Fusion grand final was broadcast on EMTV and also on radio by FM100 and Hot 97 FM. EMTV said that the audience feedback surpassed even that of State of Origin.

Opeti won the grand final with two songs, “Two Strong Hearts” by John Farnham, followed by “How Do You Talk To An Angel” by The Heights.

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A cry for my tribe

By Ellah Oiramu

As my eyes devour

And rise over the hill

In to a high power

You reveal thyself real


The pain I fear is nigh

But yet we shout loud aye

To the vanity of the future’s heel

Under them noses the days will pass like eel

Yet we sing and dance and laze


The women wear their finest lace

With passion and compassion

Ours is the shared portion

Together we rise in trice and heal

Late as the date it is we ate the veal


We hope and work and again

Hoping for the pain to be not in vain

Mine was, is now ours

Hind was, is now within hours


For like our forefathers after

We shall ease in the joy of laughter

We thus then celebrate

For our heart is passionate.

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Kokoda artist fosters young talent

By Gideon Davika


Joseph Dengke from the Kokoda Constituency in Kieta District was a teacher by profession but through his career he developed his drawing and painting skills to become one Bougainville’s artistic community.

He is a very well known person throughout Kieta and local businesses, especially restaurants and guest houses, often hire him to do paintings on the interior walls. Local people also buy his paintings to decorate their homes.

The main subject of his paintings is Bougainvillean wildlife and the diversity of the many cultures in the region.

As a teacher by profession, Mr Dengke has a desire to pass his skills and talents to the young generations in his community.

Last year he taught several boys how to draw and paint and since then he has collaborated with them.

Mr Dengke said that the boys are doing well and one of the boys who he taught is now at Kabeleo Teachers College at East New Britain. He said that the boy is now supporting himself by selling his own paintings to the resorts and hotels in Kokopo Town.

Joseph Dengke aims to teach many boys and girls to paint so that they can setup a local museum or art gallery in their community for tourists and local people to come and see the beauty and talent of Bougainville.

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Student bamboo band delights tourists in Madang

By Gideon Davika

Bougainville students attending Madang Technical College and Divine Word University have come together to put on a bamboo band performance at the Madang Resort for the arrival of a tourist ship in the waters of Madang.

The bamboo band was hired by the owner of the resort, Sir Peter Barter, to entertain those tourists from the ship who came to his resort.

Sir Peter is always impressed by the Bougainville students’ bamboo band performances and this is not the first time he has called the students to his stunning resort.

The tourists were amazed by the fast beats of the bamboo band and the style of the dances performed by the Bougainvillean girls.

Some of the tourists asked the students where they were from and how they hit the bamboo pipes to make such marvellous sound, which causes people to go crazy with rhythm.

The students gave the tourists a brief history of the bamboo band, the materials that were used by their ancestors and how they used to play in the old days.

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RinkoRanko music maintains regional culture

By Benjamin Heriberth Noibio


A new musical group known as RinkoRanko Contemporary Music of Meira from Kaitu village in Buin have been giving hit performances, starting at the Tuiruma Festival last year.

Their style is RinkoRanko, a combination of Tuiruma (garamut in Pidgin), many other traditional instruments and every little object that can make sound when hit.

The instrumentalists were mainly students from Tabago Primary School and are considered by many as the best performers in Buin.

During the launch of Bougainville’s mobile radio, Radio Ples Lain 98.6 FM, a United Nations representative commented that the group gave a fantastic performance, which made him feel as though he was back in Africa. After the scheduled two songs were completed he requested another song as an encore.

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Emperor Rangers keep crowd going at Arawa tournament

By Junior Karatapi


Instead of a DJ providing  music at the recent Island Corps sports tournament in Arawa, Jordan Opeti, a popular local popular artist, performed live.

Opeti, who is of mixed Wakunai and Tinputz heritage, is the front man in the ever-popular band Emperor Rangers.

His talent as a musician was first realised when the first album with his band members was released in 2010. The band called Emperor Rangers came to embody different styles of music and people have had a great time listening to the boys since then.

Today Jordan is a well-known throughout Bougainville as a naturally talented musician.

The Emperor Rangers kept the crowd alive as they performed live on stage. They played their popular songs like Rotokas and Aung’ee Mangi. They also performed some of Jordan’s new compositions about peace and unity, culture, the Bougainville Crisis, HIV/AIDS and issues affecting Bougainville today.

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Tuiruma Festival maintains traditional communication

By Benjamin Heriberth Noibio


The annual Tuiruma Festival, which aims to celebrate and preserve Bougainvillean tradition, was held in Buin between 2 and 4 of November

Tuiruma (or garamut in pidgin) is a form of drum made of tree logs; they are hollowed inside and make a loud noise when hit.

Tuiruma is considered as the traditional bell for the Bougaivilleans and is used to signify a number of things including a meeting, death in the community, break out of a tribal fight, a community gathering, feasts, court proceedings or the punishment of law breakers.

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