Posts Categorized: 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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