Lani Singers

Ninalik Ndawi [Weltmusik]

RELEASE: 05.12.2008

LABEL: Dancing Turtle Records

VERTRIEB: Groove Attack


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This truly unique world music group hail from the remote central highland region of West Papua on the island of New Guinea in the south-west Pacific. Deeply emotive and compelling, their songs are rooted in the sacred rituals of the Lani tribes people – a tribe whose way of living has remained largely unchanged since the Stone Age.

The Lani Singers’ music also conveys a powerful modern day message – the struggle that they and their fellow countrymen have endured under a brutal and illegal Indonesian occupation. Since 1963, over 400.000 native West Papuans have been murdered by Indonesian military and countless others have ‘disappeared’ in one of the world’s worst ongoing yet largely unreported cases of ethnic cleansing. The Lani singers miraculously managed to flee persecution in their homeland and are now resettled in the UK.

The Lani Singers are husband and wife, Benny and Maria Wenda. Leader of the Koteka Tribal Assembly, Benny Wenda was imprisoned by the Indonesian authorities on a 25 year term for raising the banned ‘Morning Star’ flag of West Papua, and for being an independence figurehead within West Papua. In 2003 he miraculously managed to escape from prison and was smuggled by freedom fighters through the jungle to neighbouring Papua New Guinea, where his wife Maria and their young child were by now living in a refugee camp by the border. Once reunited, they were brought to the UK by an NGO group, where they are now re-settled and run the Free West Papua Campaign, spreading awareness about the plight of their people, and campaigning for West Papua’s independence.

A mixture of traditional songs passed down through the generations by elders, as well some of their own compositions reflective of their plight, these songs are ones of hope, love, joy and pain.
Recorded over a two year period, the collection of songs that make up this album are reflective of the remarkable journey that The Lani Singers have travelled. Steeped in the rich traditions of the Lani tribe as well as their own contemporary compositions that are reflective of their plight. These are their songs of hope, love and pain. These are their songs of freedom.

(Quelle: Groove Attack, 30.10.2008)


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