Sunday, December 21, 2014


Here's a beautiful cassette from the West Papuan group Mambesak, not only a beautiful cassette with beautiful music but I think this is important too, as the brutal occupation of West-Papua is still going on....

From Wikipedia:

Mambesak ('Shining Bird') was a West Papuan folk-based musical group, formed in 1978 at Cenderawasih University. Mambesak articulated Papuan political concerns (for example, opposition to environmental problems connected by the mining industry), and in 1984 the lead figure of the group Arnold Ap was killed by the Indonesian military in 1984. Mambesak inspired the formation of similar Papuan musical groups.

Arnold Ap (July 1, 1945 – April 26, 1984) was a West Papuan cultural leader, anthropologist and musician. Arnold was the leader of the group Mambesak, and Curator of the Cenderawasih University Museum. He also broadcast Papuan culture on his weekly radio show.

His prominent study and performance of Papuan culture and music was seen by many as a challenge to the efforts of the Indonesian government against Papuan nationalism and identity. At the time of Ap's death, strong attempts were being made to unify Indonesian peoples under a more Javanese culture.

In November 1983 he was arrested by the Indonesian military special forces Kopassus and imprisoned and tortured for suspected sympathies with the Free Papua Movement, although no charges were laid. In April 1984 he was killed by a gunshot to his back. Official accounts claim he was trying to escape. Many supporters believe Ap was executed by Kopassus. Another musician, Eddie Mofu, was also killed.

Music is still a potent source of cultural resistance in West Papua. Arnold Ap and Mambesak are still popular in West Papua, and their works are seen as symbols of Papuan identity.

Here's a nice piece written by Arie Brand:




  1. I have no idea how I missed this absolute gem. I must have been hungover, or something. Really great. Thank you.