“Powerful” Rolling Stone
“The rhythm of a revolution” UK Internationalist
“Confronting” The Project Channel 10
“Electrifying, with an urgency too critical for the world to ignore”. Rhythm Magazine
West Papua / PNG musician Airileke’s latest project Sorong Samarai brings together rising stars of PNG and West Papua’ s underground urban music scene.
Sorong Samarai is like nothing you have ever heard or seen before. Heavy beats from Producer Airileke & Sifixion (Digital Afrika) combine with fierce log drumming of the Manus Islands to create a fresh mashup of beats that is truely unique to this part of the globe. Razor sharp lyrics from multilingual MCs Sprigga Mek (PNG) and Ukam Maniczy (West Papua) bring an insight into the ghetto life of Port Moresby, and the aspirations of freedom for Papua. Bass man Richard Mogu and Airileke combine to create one of the most unique rhythm sections bringing ancient Melanesian rhythms to life. They also perform the hauntingly beautiful Kwakumba (flutes) from the highlands of PNG depicting the Birds of Paradise. Chants and immersive sound scapes (with film projections) take you deep into the jungles of PNG. Each featured artist in the collective are established artists in their own right, between them claiming many hits and clubs bangers throughout the Pacific over the past decade. None more so than front man of the crew Jagarizza with his conscious and infectiously positive island reggae tunes.
One of the most spectacular moments in a Sorong Samarai concert is the dance. Dance duo the Roem Brothers hailing from the highlands of West Papua came to Australia as child refugees, 10 years later they have become one of the most unique and exciting dancers to watch. In Sorong Samarai they combine with legendary Indigenous contemporary dancer Albert David hailing from Torres Strait, along side the pioneer of
contemporary PNG dance and theatre Markham Galut.
The band members are regulars on the international festival circuit from WOMAD tours to International Arts Festivals, from commissioned major events to Hollywood block buster sounds tracks. Some of the highlights include the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2015 Pacific Games, headlining regional festivals such as Fes Napuan (Vanuatu), Sydney Opera House’ flagship festival “Homeground”, Arts Centre Melbourne’s
“AsiaTOPA”, and Boomerang/Blues Fest.
Sorong is the name of a town on the northwest tip of West Papua, Samarai is a town on the southeast tip of
PNG. The band represent the unification of the 2 politically divided regions, which have been isolated from each other for over 50 years. Papua is the most culturally diverse place on earth with over 1000 distinct languages, and the 3rd largest tract of rainforest on earth. The first single of the band “Sorong
Samarai” (2017) took Oceania by storm, breaking through the silence in the mainstream media on the issue of West Papua. This is music of resistance from one of the newest and harshest urban environments on the planet, right here on Australia’s door step.