This has been such an all-consuming project; the kind that comes along rarely. I was impressed by Bill and Jenny's script, a portrayal of the Trobriands not as some light, romantic Pacific Paradise but a highly complex people holding on to their traditions and beliefs, observing the colonialists and anthropologists with a sense of disdain and a wicked sense of humour. The task was to create a soundtrack that gave a sense of heart to the film, one that captured the brooding intensity of the Trobriand Islands.
On the Trobriand Islands (Telek, Yothu Yindi) Ben Hakilitz and I slept in an open-air hut by the beach, venturing out in the cool of the evening to a local clearing. The whole village as audience followed, one by one the different performers came over to the microphone. Everyone fell quiet and each artist performed. the children watching in respectful awe as their Uncles and Aunties sang old songs. Laughter emptied during hip thrusting dances or some little play, probably at our expense.
Other days were spent recording ambience – layers of insects, conch shells, ocean noise, short radio generator and Ben playing percussion on old biscuit tins, 44-gallon drums and other odd things that made up part of the film set.
I returned to Melbourne and spent the next three months in the studio, beds of rhythm and textures were created. I would send Bill, Wayne Pashley (sound mixer) and Henry Dangar (editor) works-in-progress.
I began composing the orchestral cues, all dark strings, sad chord - oboes, clarinets and horns. The orchestral arrangements were recorded with the assistance of fellow ‘My Friend The Chocolate Cake’ cellist Helen Mountfort, who gathered together an orchestra of her mates. In the mix we pushed the surrounds, the textures, the layers.
I hope you like.
Bwena Bogi (Good Night)
released January 1, 1999
Produced by David Bridie
Composed by David Bridie
Featuring musicians from the Trobriand Islands, PNG
Music Compile Engineer: Adam Rhodes
Surround and Stereo Mix: Simon Polinski with Adam Rhodes at Adelphi
Mastered by Simon Polinski at Steaming Gents
Ben Hakilitz: kundus, percussion, 44-gallon drums
Pius Wasi: mambu/bamboo flutes
Wenema Mosebuia: loloni 'paw paw stem', flutes/harp/singing (Kaibola village)
Tomenauli & Tobuyai Loloni: 'paw paw stem' flutes (Avebwelim village)
Tom Mowana: singing and adventures
Hubert Papi and Alphonse Kawei: skelli' song from Ponam Island, Manus Island
Kereka Kau and Gulupa Golkama: simbu mambu (Sina Sina village, Simbu Province)
Michael Barker: additional percussion tracks
Helen Mountfort: cello
Simon Polinski: bilas, suggestions
David Bridie: piano, keyboards, bilas
Ibobuwa Tosieru: vocals
and featuring the Luya Hed Hi Meris:
Bosuwota, Sitavata, Bowisomwesa, Bouvirivouth, Wainowosi, Kabiwaga, Vakadamani, Lumtavana, Boburesi, flumagava, Boutula M. Bourikuna, Bomlaina, Isuputala, Boutula T., Bomkwauri, Migileu from Luya village.
Elizabeth Sellars: principal violin
Hope Csutoros: principal second violin
John Lynch: principal viola
Simon Mean: principal cello
Rosemary Webber: principal double bass
Geoff Lierse and Jules Evans: horns
Rianne Wilscut and Paul Kopetz: clarinets
Rachel Burke: oboe
Orchestral Supervisor: Helen Mountfort
Orchestral Arrangements: David Bride and Helen Mountfort
Conducter: Andrea Keeble
Recorded by Robin Gray at Alan Eatons Studios
All PNG recordings and soundscapes recorded on location in the Trobriand Islands by David Bride, assisted by Ben Hakilitz except for Pius Wasis Mambu recorded by Tim Cole at Raw Spirit Studios (Baxter), and Simbu Mambu recorded by John Phillips at Sina Sina village, Kundiawa Simbu Province and Skelli recorded by David Bride on Ponam Island, Manus Province
Thank You... Bo Bwen: John, Peter, Selina, William, Emmanuel and Jacob Tomtawa. Modiale Elliot, Wenema Mosebuia, David Namesake. Tokunou Tokwamula, Steven Steven, Henry Kaidoga. Dovana Motaesa, Jerome, Tom Mowana, Rod and Sereh Clark, Brenda Pam, Bill and Jenny Bennett, Michael Roberts, Liz Thompson, Wayne Pashley, George Telek, Paul Petran, Lynne Hamilton, Winnie and Stella Bride, Digby Holeong, Mark Worth, John Kasaipowalova, the Brothers Adelphi, Chris Scanlan, Silvana Milat, Glen Low, Henry Dangar.