♫ Old Oro Kaivan Lady Sings, PNG

A short selection of recordings of an elderly Oro Kaivan lady singing, from Papua New Guinea. She figured herself to be around 90 years old – which is probably the oldest person I met in PNG, and certainly the oldest person I’ve met with a full face tattoo.

She was sitting around in the night time, singing songs to two of her great-grandchildren. She was spending the night at her granddaughters house, before moving on to stay with another grandson who lived in the area. From what I was told, her life consisted of moving around the country, visiting all her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren (and possibly great-great-grandchildren)

The percussive sound, which sometimes sounds like a kundu (hand-drum) is actually just her keeping rhythm on the wooden platform she is sitting on. I love the short rhythmic endings she performs at the end of each song.

After she had finished singing her songs she asked if she could listen to what she had done. I placed the earphones around her ears, and then as she sat there listening and clapping along she asked if I would take her photo. I did and she then asked to see it. She took the camera from my hands and stared at her image for a long time. She then spoke to her grand-daughter, who translated for me;

“Aio! So old already! I used to be a young girl! Singing on the beach! I haven’t seen myself for 30 years…”