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Papua New Guinea Stringbands with Bob Brozman
Papua New Guinea Stringbands with Bob Brozman
In the region where this music is played, the guitar has had a very short history. In fact, the instrument only landed there in the middle of the twentieth century. But it caught on!

This is called string band music.

It's from the province of East New Britain, which is part of Papua New Guinea, east of Indonesia.

And among the performers is American guitar master Bob Brozman. He's also an adjunct professor of music at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.

In 2003, Brozman travelled to East New Britain to document local string band music. He spent time in five villages, playing with five bands. He had the sessions recorded and put together a CD. This is not the first project like this for Brozman.

He's collaborated with musicians from Hawaii, Greece, Okinawa and India on previous CDs.

This new CD from Papua New Guinea is called "Songs of The Volcano."

This track is called "Tavurvur". Tavurvur is one of the active volcanoes here.

It erupted in 1994 and flattened many buildings in the area, including one of the few recording studios. So Brozman and his engineer had to improvise. They turned a room in a local Travelodge Motel into a makeshift studio. But things still didn't go smoothly. The sessions were interrupted by torrential rains and power outages. And extreme heat made the instruments go out of tune.

Brozman returned to East New Britain last year to distribute the CD to all who played on it. A documentary made about the project, showed villagers gathered around a boombox, listening to the CD and smiling.

The proceeds from the sale of the CD are being divided equally among the 50 musicians who participated.

That's it for us today.

I'm Marco Werman in Boston.