Sir George Mamua Telek MBE, or Telek as he is known to his legion of fans throughout the world, has long been at the forefront of the PNG music scene.
Sir Telek and David Bridie were my special guests on Big Brekky which they talked about Sir Telek’s latest album, “Kambek (I Lilikun Mulai)”, their new film, “Abebe – Butterfly Song”, and their upcoming plans.
Whether it is through his work with the village-based Moab Stringband, legendary 80’s rock band Painim Wok, his various collaborations, or critically acclaimed solo output, George Telek is one of the most important performers in the Pacific region.
George Telek’s songs and his hauntingly beautiful voice traverse many musical styles capturing the spirit of the Tolai people of Papua New Guinea. Blending contemporary grooves with Melanesian rhythms, the music is enriched with island harmonies and textured environmental sounds.
Telek’s vibrant career over the last four decades has included receiving an ARIA Award, being awarded an MBE for services to the development of music culture and industry in PNG, releasing music on Peter Gabriel’s Real World record label in the UK, collaborations with Archie Roach, Kev Carmody and David Bridie, and praise from renowned publications such as Rolling Stone, The Times (UK) and Billboard USA.
The title of the new album Kambek (I Lilikun Mulai) includes the languages Tok Pisin and Kuanua, referencing Telek’s recent recovery from a long fought battle with mouth cancer, which preceded the recent years of absence from touring and recording due to the global pandemic.
Kambek (I Lilikun Mulai), released in 2022, is the first album Sir George has recorded in his home base of Rabaul since the volcano Tavurvur destroyed the town (including its recording studios) back in 1994. For this album Telek teamed up with his former bandmates from Painim Wok, with legendary guitarist Sir John Warbat, drummer Henry Maniot, and bass player John “Pooger” Yass. The album was mixed by Simon Polinksi (Yothu Yindi, Paul Kelly) who recorded and mixed Telek’s self-titled album in 1997, which received an ARIA Award for Best World Music Album.
Whilst centering around Telek’s unique vocal sound and style, Kambek (I Lilikun Mulai) is full of lush Melanesian harmonies and instrumentation that provide a joyous underlay.
Seven time ARIA award winning artist David Bridie has enjoyed a distinguished career as one of Australia’s most well-loved and innovative musicians.
A founding member and songwriter of critically acclaimed musical groups Not Drowning Waving and My Friend The Chocolate Cake, Bridie has also maintained a substantial career as a solo artist releasing six albums (so far!).
My Friend the Chocolate Cake delivered numerous hits and ARIA awards and toured extensively around the country to festivals and sold out concert halls.
As a producer Bridie has worked with Christine Anu on her debut album “Stylin Up”, as well as Archie Roach on his acclaimed “Jamu Dreaming” record as well as projects with Frank Yamma, Telek and many others.
Not one to be categorised, David has firmly established himself over the last thirty years as a music theatre director and screen composer. He has scored the soundtracks for over 100 international and Australian films, television series and documentaries earning numerous AFI AACTA and Screen Music awards.
Performing live is David’s first love, and he is currently on tour playing work from all his numerous projects interspersed with stories from his substantial career.
For more information on Charles Maimarosia: https://www.wantokmusik.org/charlesmaimarosia
For tickets to their gig at Memo Music Hall on Saturday 19th August: https://www.memomusichall.com.au/memo-gig/telek-with-david-bridie/
For more information on their film Abebe – Butterfly Song: https://miff.com.au/program/film/abebe-butterfly-song