♫ Martyr’s High School, PNG

These are a selection of recordings I made at Martyr’s Secondary School in Oro Province, Papua New Guinea in 2007 and 2009.

The selection is made up of Year 10’s and 12’s. Music classes might have anywhere from 12 to 33 students, with the only instruments available being 4 cheap Chinese guitars, one of which got broken during the course of the semester.  The kids had music inside them though. We would work in class, I would do my best to explain what I knew about music with a guitar and a blackboard. In the evenings I would open the school up for the kids so they could just jam and rehearse.

As part of their assessment we organized a few evenings where they were able to perform with electric equipment, and on these evenings hundreds of the students showed up as well as another hundred or so from surrounding villages. All of the songs are originals, written and performed by the students.

The second track ‘Skul Wok’ (Pidgin for ‘School Work’) is a song about the difficulties of studying in Papua New Guinea. Some of the opening lines relate the experience of showing up to school, being well dressed and feeling ready to learn, but not having a pencil to write with, or a ruler to measure with. They expect you to learn, but they don’t feed you enough.

I don’t know what the fourth track ‘Na Sikura Tohena’ is about, but it is the only track that includes a rhythm made from a keyboard, as opposed to ‘Aio Mummy, Aio Daddy’ which consists of a bucket being beaten with stick. The keyboard was borrowed from a village a couple of hours walk down the road, and they had to supply their own batteries, which fortunately I was able to provide. This is one of my favourite tracks from the compilation.

Tracks 6-8 are from the electric evening performed in the KDH (Kitchen Dining Hall) This is where the student body would take their meals each day, consisting almost solely of white rice cooked in gigantic vats, with the oil from a couple of cans of tinned fish mixed in for taste. Lack of protein is a real problem in the school. As the night progressed more and more people ended up on stage, and things got progressively wilder. Heavy rain didn’t stop anybody from coming down and listening to a bunch of kids rocking out, enjoying the one night of the semester they get to rock out with a drum kit. At one point towards the end of the night the pedal from the kick drum came loose, and one of the students got down there, one ear next to the kick, the other next to the snare and held the kick in place while the drummer pounded away.

The final track, ‘Martyr’s’ is about life at Martyr’s and is kind of an anthem for the students. People were performing it in 2007 when I was first there, and were still performing it in 2009 when I returned. It talks of the boredom of life at school. Not being allowed to go anywhere, and on the rare event of being able to go somewhere having nowhere to go and nothing to do, except go up to the local market Sasambata and hold a pretty girls hand. The audience reactions are pretty wild on this track.

Thanks Wailliy for the translation at the end of this page!  ☺☺☺

KINAU WELCOME_AIO MAMA

hey lockey this type of png music are called string band music( do u get wat i mean) they are like traditional music because that keep on repeating da same thing over and over again lol……. the other ones are like the sme……..

Oh mum!!! why did you bring me here, my face is ugly and my clothes are torn apart
Im just like my brother, but my face makes me look really ugly
Oh mum!! why did you bring me here, my face is really ugly and my clothes are torn apart
Im just like my brother, but my face makes me look really ugly
Thats ok,thats ok mum(2x), im so ugly that people hate me.
thats ok,thats ok mum(4x) im so ugly that people hate me.
Oh mum!!! why did you bring me here, my face is ugly and my clothes are torn apart
Im just like my brother, but only my face makes me look ugly
Oh mum!! why did you bring me here, my face is really ugly and my clothes are torn apart
Im just like my brother, but only my face makes me look ugly
thats ok, thats ok mum(2x),im so ugly that people dont want me.
thats ok,thats ok mum(2x)
Im spoilt that people dont want me(4x)
Im a kinau boy and im a embaressment to the village

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5 responses to “♫ Martyr’s High School, PNG

  1. trupla!trupla!!!!<3

  2. OMG! Dayymmmm I can see most of my home girls n boys in there. N My baby tambs ( Uks Sapuda) on the microphone ,,, hahaha… You know what “tambs” mean right Lochie?

  3. hey michelle, knew you;d like this. of course i know what tambs meanss, you long long! xo

  4. Kimberley Tatai

    Honest,Thanks lochie.Thats just great and reminds me of mmss.At that time,i was in year nine but usually enjoyed the moment with my seniours..Than mum and dad transfered out of the province and but i went back in 2011 and did year 11 and in 2012 did my year 12.But yeah,enjoyed been at mmss and am proud to be one.

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