Singsing is the Tok Pisin term for the elaborate festivals held all over Papua New Guinea that feature theatrically choreographed dance and vocal performances by PNG villagers. Each of the many performing/competing groups comes to a singsing to represent its own village’s unique songs, dances, language and culture. The costumes and makeup are extensive, the harmonies are complex and the competition is intense. While in a sense the most popular singsings such as the Goroka Show are events sculpted for tourists, and while the truth is that most PNG villagers wear Western clothes and don’t paint their faces when they live day to day, Papua New Guineans value singsings as a time to revel in the beauty of their local cultures.
There are so many wonderful images and videos from singsings and other PNG cultural events available online and do check them out, though the “look at this slideshow before sharing it with the kids” disclaimer from above still applies:
Singsing photos on Google images | Singsing pictures on Flickr | Great shots of Singsing (the music on this video is nice but not from a singsing) | Images of the Goroka show, both in 1957/58 and today | Portraits of Huli Wigmen at a singsing
More about singsings:
A singsing overview from Peace-On-Earth.org | If it ever comes your way, don’t miss the extraordinary Wontok Music Production/David Bridie/George Telek production, “Singsing”: “It was magic–pure magic.”
In class we won’t be able to justice to a real singsing but we’ll sing and sing and see what happens. At the very least we’ll try this dance by the awesomely dressed Huli Wigmen.
See you in class!