The Black Orchid Stringband is comprised of West Papuan freedom fighters now living in Melbourne who sing to live and live to sing the songs of freedom. They were established in 2011 to continue the legacy of great musicologist Arnold Ap, sustain a musical cultural identity and raise awareness about West Papua’s struggle for independence.
The ten piece string band includes traditional bass, ukulele, tifa and beautiful three part vocal harmonies – representative of the spirit of national unity in their struggle for freedom. Most of their songs are performed in various West Papuan dialects as well as Tok Pisin (PNG language) and speak of the struggle alongside traditional folklore and creation myths.
Band member Amos Wainggai, along with 42 other Papuans, crossed the sea on a small motor boat in 2006 to seek asylum in Australia. He states, “our songs have deep meaning and conjure imagery of our precious West Papua, the morning star flag, our Melanesian culture, family, community, the rolling green mountains and rich soils of our homeland and the courage of our freedom fighters.”
Multicultural Arts Victoria was thrilled to work with the Band in its 2015 Visible Music Program where they partnered with Melbourne-based Colombian producer Oscar Jimenez. They have continued this collaboration and launched a crowdfunding campaign to complete the recording of the new tracks from Visible in a debut album accompanied by a full colour book featuring art by band member Amos Wainggai and Colombian painter Katherine Gailer. Each work will relate to one of the songs, helping tell the stories behind the lyrics, harmonies, melody and bass lines.
We invite you to make a pledge and help bring their debut album this beautiful project to life! Full details at Black Orchid Stringband on Pozible.