a Bit na Ta


a Bit na Ta

“The Source of the Sea”

 Stream 1.34 minutes for a magic intro to this album >> https://soundcloud.com/wantokmusik/george-telek-tatabai

 Stream full album// https://wantokmusik.bandcamp.com/album/a-bit-na-ta

Download WAV // https://www.dropbox.com/sh/xlj7542f20d5wha/AAA1OHE4HqrmbjPqWH9kIJ2Ka?dl=0


a Bit na Ta: an audio-visual art installation celebrating the Tolai people of East New Britain, featuring at Queensland’s Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art until January 29th 2017. By David Bridie (Artistic Director), George Telek (Musician), Gideon Kakabin (Cultural Historian), Keith Deverell (Video Artist), Lisa Hilli (Visual Artist), Nao Anzai (Surround Sound).

Songs From a Bit na Ta: a musical immersion in the history, culture and spiritual essence of this unique region of New Guinea; a journey of sublime filmic atmospheres, exhilarating acoustic energy and timeless devotion to a place buffeted by world wars, political unrest and natural disasters.

The album is the culmination, so far, of a deep friendship between Melbourne composer-producer David Bridie and Tolai superstar George Telek. Their 30-year collaboration bore first fruit when David’s band, Not Drowning Waving, went to Rabaul to make Tabaran, the landmark “world music” album acclaimed by David Byrne and Peter Gabriel in the early 1990s.

Together with a vast network of Gunantuna (Tolai) musicians from villages surrounding Rabaul, a Bit na Ta evokes 100 years of a history that has encompassed two world wars, a near catastrophic volcanic eruption and Australia’s only political assassination: the murder of District Commissioner Jack Emanuel in 1971.

As a musical experience, it is at once primal and surreal, as in the percussive throb and wail of Telek’s Lili Ram Kavavar: a dream song humming with powerful images of the ocean and the volcano. David’s haunting Black Lotu weaves field recordings, weather events, choirs, children’s voices and other village ambience with the subtle drones that have long characterised his work.

Akuka enhances a 1976 recording of a Tapialai crab dance with the dramatic chords of guitarist John Phillips and Melbourne bassist Paul Cartright. Telek’s Tatabai is more sacred in tone, a song of praise for “kustom” in an ethereal updraft sculpted by David and John. Steeped in the voices of the Sikut Choir and Helen Mountfort’s strings, the sorrowful lilt of Abot ai Bitapaka reflects years of cultural neglect from neighboring Australia.

Framed by a drowsy drone of jungle insects, Iau Kunera Lur is a parent’s heartbreaking song for the future by Levi Siale of Matupit Village. It’s his cousin Anslom Nakikus, a famous Melanesian reggae singer, who whispers and chants A Gap na Kete, a mystical song of metaphoric images for waking the spirits. Finally, the oceanic ebb of Wali finds Telek simultaneously lamenting for the loss of his home, and grateful for the solidarity of his people: a powerful ending to a song cycle of grave fears and joyous belonging.

Songs From a Bit na Ta is a stunning revelation of a profound culture that continues to thrive despite the tumultuous pressures of nature and history.

In the spirit of Tabaran and his second collaboration with Telek in 2000, Serious Tam, it’s a further illustration of David Bridie’s passionate commitment to bringing the story of this widely misunderstood region to the ears of the world. As a long time friend and fellow traveller, David is uniquely placed to communicate the Tolai people’s remarkable story, through the voices of those who have lived it.



Over 30-plus years, David Bridie has forged a distinguished career as one of our most thoughtful and innovative artists in a wide range of musical settings. The Melbourne singer, songwriter, pianist, composer and producer has crafted a uniquely Australian voice with atmospheric ensemble Not Drowning Waving and classically tuned pop group My Friend the Chocolate Cake, winner of multiple Awards from ARIA and the Edinburgh Festival.

His solo works to date span his US and UK-released debut of 2000, Act of Free Choice, to his fourth album of 2013, Wake. He is a soundtrack composer of international renown, via scores for films such as Putuparri and the Rainmakers, The Man Who Sued God, In a Savage Land, Satellite Boy and Proof. He has produced albums by important Indigenous voice such as Archie Roach, George Telek and Frank Yamma, and won a total of seven ARIAs among his many awards from the Australian Performing Rights Association to the Australian Film Institute.

David is a passionate authority and producer in the field of Melanesian music, having made his first visit to Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, to record Not Drowning Waving’s landmark Tabaran album with George Telek in 1989. He has since established the Wantok Musik Foundation: a not-for-profit music label which aims to foster cultural exchange between Indigenous Australia and Melanesia by recording, releasing and promoting music from the region.

Wantok has released music from Frank Yamma, George Telek, Airileke, Ngaiire, Emily Wurramara, Radical Son, Richard Mogu and more, leading to performances at prestigious international festivals such as WOMAD, WOMEX, AWME, Glastonbury, and at the BT River of Music celebrations as part of the 2012 London Olympics.



Media Enquiries:
Chryss Carr – AUM PR  // aum@aum.net.au // 0417 800 869
Cooper-Lily Nikora – AUM PR // cooper@aum.net.au // 0432 601 211