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Challenges of female musicians in PNG

How far do we allow our diverse traditional, cultural beliefs and norms to go?

A sensitive and very controversial topic when raised, yet these beliefs are only questioned when it stands in the way of development.

And in this case, the music industry.

“We’re from a society that’s so diverse and everybody has their own idea of how a woman needs to be raised,” says Nicole Jeune.

Jeune is the band manager of The Vibe – PNG’s first ever girl band.

Her comment is in reference to female musicians trying out in PNG’s male dominated music industry.

Jeune can already foresee the criticisms and negative comments that will come with the recently formed band’s growth and success.

“I’m sure we’ll be getting critics from other people and parents…as well as from churches,” she said.

Band member Theresa Miria also speaks of her personal experience.

She started singing and playing guitar at the age of 7. The thought never crossed her mind back then, to go big with her talent. She was always backstage backing up.

Miria says it seemed more like the arena for men and it was intimidating to even try.

Gathering up the courage, she began with singing competitions. It was Vocal Fusion that developed both her confidence and vocal style.

“When I realised that I could do more, I gave it a try,” she said.

Now with the band, Miria is determined to write songs and eventually come up with an album.

Like many other musicians, all three members of The Vibe started singing and building their talent in church.

The trio are still conscious of what others may think of them – a similar situation with all female musicians.

“Most associate music with something for the nightclubs. We’re trying to change that mentality – music is not about nightclubs only. Music is about having fun and expressing yourself,” Jeune says.

The Vibe want to take music out to neutral environments and “hopefully that will change the minds of parents to allow their daughters to try out.”

The Vibe also wants to move away from the idea of singing about girls, boys and love. Instead write and sing songs with positive messages.

They will be performing at the 2017 PNG International Business Summit in Brisbane on August 22.

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