Abot (boat) Songs

Papua New Guinea’s histories and realities are most often shared through music and dance. Many of these songs and dances are passed down through generations, renewing and reinterpreting the same story. This audio-visual playlist and history is a selection of New Guinea Island experiences of traveling in “Abot” the Kuanua (Tolai language) word for boats, across the Pacific region from the colonial era to the contemporary. Most songs are sung in the language of Tok Pisin with a few in Kuanua or using both.

Barike Band – Abot

Panim Wok – Abot

Narox Band – Bot (Kolwara original)

Junior Narox – Abot

Narox Band – Abot

Leonard Kania – Abot

Junior Kopex Band – Abot

Choking Band – Abot

Saii Kay Feat. Uralom Kania & Patti Potts Doi – Abot

My interest in this topic of Abot (boat) songs was sparked by community dialogue with New Guinea Islands community of history relating to Melanesians that were transported by ship as indentured labourers by German trading firm Deutsche Handel-und Plantagengessellshcaft (D.H.P.G.) to work on plantations in Samoa between 1864 – 1921. Further research and context is needed with the New Guinea Islands community to decipher the hidden meanings within these songs, which was generously acknowledged and shared by Tolai men Jack Tiriman Voivoi and Wes Waninara.

My research is part of an International Fellowship with the German Maritime Museum and North German Lloyd Colonial Research project

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