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Serious Tam
     

Serious Tam

by Telek
 
The imagination reels at the thought of pop music from such a place as Papua New Guinea, and on Serious Tam (meaning serious crush), singer/guitarist George Mamua Telek throws the senses into overdrive. Tropical birds toss out melodies with abandon, while insects click and buzz their rattles. Ukuleles outstrip guitars, traditional and log-slit drums are mixed

Overview

The imagination reels at the thought of pop music from such a place as Papua New Guinea, and on Serious Tam (meaning serious crush), singer/guitarist George Mamua Telek throws the senses into overdrive. Tropical birds toss out melodies with abandon, while insects click and buzz their rattles. Ukuleles outstrip guitars, traditional and log-slit drums are mixed with the rock band's trap set, and keyboards add symphonic and atmospheric textures. Most striking are Telek's three-part vocals, with two voices in harmony and the third snaking around the others. Several of the tracks tell of exotic enchantments. "Midal," which describes a painted leaf meant to charm a woman's affection, features springy surround-drums, a twangy drone, magical whispers, and cries of delight. The high vocals, sometimes in falsetto, twine like perfumed vines. Most pieces are just as high-spirited and lyrical as this one, with buoyant plunks and plinks, invigorating drum rhythms, and Telek's delightfully curly vocals, which mix his native language with English. There are darker moments, too. "Boystown" is backed with an ominous ambient drone and the haunting wailing of electric guitar. "Lili" laments that "You are dead and will not come back to us," with labored spirit breathing and somber echoes tangled in a ghostly netherworld. The sound of walking through water makes it seem like the singer is trying to follow the dead. For the most part, however, Telek joins with bassist Glen Low, percussionist Ben Hakilitz, and keyboardist David Bridie to exalt in the spell of everlasting love. A rejuvenating listen.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Diana Potts
The most interesting dynamic of Telek's Serious Tam is that it's on Real World Records. The label, co-founded in 1989 by Peter Gabriel and WOMAD (World of Music Art and Dance), provides global artists with the access to state of the art recording technology and audiences beyond their region. George Telek originates from the village of Raluana, near Rabaul on the Papua New Guinean island of New Britain. Telek was an already established artist on his native island and had recorded several albums before Gabriel asked him to record for Real World. Translated, most of the songs on Serious Tam are about the common themes of daily life and passionate love. This a definite global pop album with an ethnic twist. Serious Tam's tribal drum sounds and simplicity will take the listener to a better, more serene place.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/01/2000
Label:
Real World
UPC:
0724384954321
catalogNumber:
49543

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