The group is the inaugural winner of Tony Subam Fellowship 2016, offered by Wantok Music Foundation.
As per the fellowship, the style of music has to have something to do with one’s cultural heritage and links up with the Sanguma band, which the late Tony Subam was a member of.
Sambra Aikit follows in his steps with a contemporary take on traditional chants.
As explained by band member, Leeroy Walter Murray, their style of music is basically “all other genres entwined into one”.
It’s a contemporary fusion – revolving around what was studied at the arts school – so that’s basically influences of classical and jazz and what each member listens to, like reggae and rock.
“…but mainly revolving around our traditional music,” he said.
“So it’s based on vocal harmony with chants and storytelling. The main essence is the rhythm following the garamut, kundu…that’s how we create our compositions and arrangements,” he said.
Winning the fellowship award, the group was given a recording deal with Panakatsu studios, fully funded by the Wantok Music Foundation and APRA.
The group finally launched this on October 28 at the Moresby Arts Theatre.
“When other nations want to relate to PNG, this should be the type of music they’ll listen to. Our traditional music is our identity,” said John Loko, another band member.
The group stands to sell this traditional contemporary PNG sound.
As Sambra Aikit say, it’s one genre that’s “intelligent in its own right”.