West Papua’s Black Brothers message to PNG musicians: ‘Stay committed’

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Black Brothers' Andy Ayamiseba ... advice for Papua New Guinea musicians on how to be successful. Image: Loop PNG

By Quintina Naime in Port Moresby

Local musicians in Papua New Guinea are encouraged to stay committed to what they do in order to succeed in their music careers.

Band manager and founder of the West Papuan group Black Brothers, Andy Ayamiseba, urges PNG musicians to always commit to their music and learn to sacrifice their time.

The group was in Papua New Guinea to perform at the Sir John Guise stadium in Port Moresby to celebrate the country’s 41st anniversary of independence celebrations on Friday.

Black Brothers is an eclectic band that was the most popular musical group in Papua New Guinea during the 1980s.

The band is known for hit songs back in the 1980s including Apuse, Permata Hatiku, Hari Kiamat, Terjalin Kembali, kerongcong kenangan, Anita and Wan Pela Meri.

Their music, sung in Tok Pisin, and originally in Bahasa Indonesia, included influences from reggae and political elements inspired by the Black Power movement.

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Ayamiseba has been the band manager for more than three decades and says the secret to being successful is through commitment and hard work.

“You have to stay committed because music is a platform to express yourself.

‘Universal language’
“It’s like a universal language so you have to explore your feelings through music rather than having a big protest about an issue.

“Music is another medium to preach what you think,” Ayamiseba explains.

Black Brothers have toured more than 10 countries in Europe, Asia, Pacific Islands and Australia.

The reggae inspiration of the Black Brothers has influenced various other PNG and Pacific music groups.

Ayamiseba adds that artists face the challenge of piracy so it’s good for them to record under a recognised music label to protect their rights so nobody can pirate their creation.

The original Black Brothers band included Hengky Sumanti Miratoneng (vocals, guitar), Benny Bettay (bass), August Rumwaropen (lead guitar, vocals), Stevy Mambor (vocals, drums), Willem Ayamiseba (percussion) and Amri Kahar (trumpet).

The 16-member band in PNG to perform includes three original members and the Black Sisters.

Two of the original members, August and Sumanti, have died while Stevy Mambor could not make the tour due to health reasons.

The Black Sisters – Petronela, Rosalie and Lea Rumwaropen – are daughters of late August Rumwaropen and they performed alongside their uncles.

Quintina Naime is a Loop PNG journalist.

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Black Brothers – and Sisters – at a photo session with PNG’s National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop (centre). Image: Tabloid Jubi English
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