'Amette' is Telek's third album. Recorded in Australia and PNG, it focuses more on the acoustic side featuring a mix of stringband, Pacific roots pop and traditional Tolais songs. The result is more instant and stripped back but still very Pacific in sound especially three part harmonies, kundu drums and guitar work.
Highlights include the rocking string band numbers "Paska", the instantly appealing "Sonny" and "Mama", a lament for PNG's Melanesian neighbours "West Papua", the moodier title track "Amette", and traditional "Lima Ngalie". Two tracks "Abebe" and "Typist" have been lifted off the Moab Stringband's 1986 Pacific Gold recordings, full of energy and documenting the amazing Rabaul sound of that period renown throughout the Pacific.
Telek is a band, a man and, in some parts of the world, a legend. It is said that when Telek was a child he ate a special buai (betel nut) which enables him to receive stories for the village in his dreams. And these stories provide the lyrics for his songs. All the young bands in Rabaul cover Telek's songs and most of the kids know the songs word for word - he's quite a pop star in the PNG (Papua New Guinea) sense.
George Telek's standing in the Pacific is huge. Awarded an MBE by the PNG government for services to music, Telek was asked to play at the celebrations for the one-year anniversary of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands. The response from the local population was phenomenal, the band setting attendance records in the Solomons (10-12,000 in Honiara), people walking 100 kilometres through jungle to some concerts, and PNG fans from Bougainville journeying by boat from their homeland to see their compatriot play.
George Mamua Telek, or Telek as he is known to his legion of fans in Papua New Guinea, has long been at the forefront of the Papua New Guinean music scene. Telek comes from the village of Raluana, near Rabaul in the Papua New Guinean island province of East New Britain, where he continues to live with his wife Bridget and their seven children, despite the volcano which destroyed the idyllic Pacific town in 1994.
"The traditional songs are about our daily life, songs that the people sing when they pick the bananas or collect the coconuts or go fishing," he says. The towns and villages have now been rebuilt and because the Tolai people represent a living tradition, the volcano too has now entered their songs.
And yet, Telek's music and haunting voice traverse many musical styles, blending songs of the "midal" (magic charms) and "malira" (love magic) with contemporary grooves and Melanesian rhythms against textured environmental sounds.
Telek, the band, was formed from a musical and personal friendship between Telek and producer and musician David Bridie. It is a collaboration that stretches back to the late 1980's and continues today.
"One of the coolest things about world music is that your next big surprise can come from any little corner of the planet. 'Serious Tam' is a perfect example" - Billboard.
"Atmospheric: jungle sounds and pulsating drumbeat:brooding rock" - The Age.
"Whether in sparse semi-acoustic settings, chanting over pounding and complex percussion, or telling stories in fields of ambience, Telek is utterly compelling" - Rolling Stone.
"It is a crime that world music fans in Australia have ignored the music of our immediate area. This marvellous record should go a long way to putting Papua New Guinea on the international music map" - Sydney Morning Herald.
Visit Telek at Wantok.