By HELEN TARAWA
ALANLEE Herove, commonly known as Sauga, is working on a song about his first ever visit to Tufi for the Tapa Tattoo Cultural Festival.
The popular singer and song writer from Northern was blown away by the scenic Tufi environment and like any other musician, wasted no time in writing the lyrics of his latest song featuring the sun rising with a beautiful tattooed girl in the background.
Herove was invited by Ijivitari District Development Authority and local MP Richard Masere to perform at the cultural show in November.
“This was the first time to Tufi; I have never been to this area in all of my music career of about 30 years since 1992. Tufi is beautiful, a perfect tourist destination with lovely scenery, the fiords, the white sandy beaches and the coral reefs.
“The people are friendly and although it is part of Northern the outstanding part is the tapa cloth and the tattoo culture,” Herove said.
It was his first performance at the cultural show and he stole the show as people swarmed the field and the reserve policemen had to keep the crowd down. The fact that he was escorted by a traditional singsing group onto the stage was an honour for him something he will never forget in a long time.
“In all of my music career I have never been given this treatment in my own province – only in the highlands and the people of Tufi have humbled me. My future music stand, I’m doing some local hits like Jayapura lewa which I took the opportunity to do a video clip at Baga Village in Tufi,” Herove said.
The song is about a soldier based in Wutung border patrol post who during his trip to Jayapura in Indonesia met a young woman there and the place and people won his heart and he had to make a decision whether to stay there or return home.
Another song titled Scarfy Scarfy is about a young lady who dresses eloquently with her scarf and is often the centre of attraction in Popondetta everyone calls her scarfy scarfy.
Herove also wrote a song about a certain food which is a delicacy for the people in the inland called ‘red marita’. The song was purposely to promote the local traditional food.
“Since I started my music career I always sang about the Oro people and the culture but I have decided to expand to other parts of the country and I am now promoting PNG.
“I realised that I have a lot of fans not just in Northern but throughout the country as I travel around people believed in me and want to take photos with me and the name Sauga has is now a household name,” he said.
Sauga refers to the ethnic group Herove comes from and most of his songs are sung in the local language which is also known as Sauga.
He writes a lot of songs about his people who live in the savannah grass land where his ethnic people have settled within the Girua Airport and the surrounding areas in Ijivitari district.
His dad is from West Kerema in Gulf and his mother is from Barisari area but he was raised by his mum and that is where his band derived its name from.
“As I am getting old I have many fans who have believed in me to promote Oro along with my fans from Chimbu, Goroka, Mt Hagen, New Guinea Islands, Kerema, Daru and even Milne Bay so I have to promote the whole country. I have to make it fair, I have to hold the PNG flag during my performances.
“Now that I have visited Tufi I have already started writing a song about the place. The beauty of the area, the seas shores, as the wind blows from the ocean touching the coconut trees the leaves are dancing and talking to us.
“And the people of Tufi…I’m dreaming about the sun rising and the beautiful Tufi lady standing in the background with her tattooed face,” Herove said.
The above sentiments are part of the latest song he is composing which he will dedicate to the people of Tufi.
Herove’s biggest concern now is over modernised recording systems coming into the country.
“Our young talented musicians are going into those, especially if you study information technology (IT) you already have a studio because the software application can be downloaded from the internet and that’s it you already have a studio to run recordings.
“The standard of recording systems has shifted now with the day and age in technology so we old musicians are more familiar with manual systems and we play live but it is now computerised.
“PNG is now in the next level of the music industry but we old musicians still maintain the original way of playing music.
“There are certain groups of people with their taste of music and they follow our music which is what keeps us going. Currently when we do a song, we cut the video clip and we put it through YouTube and that’s where everyone accesses our latest music.
“Gone are the days of CDs and cassettes on the shelves of supermarkets and stops. They can only play their songs in boom boxes or radios in the shops,” he said.
Herove said most songs are now being promoted through YouTube where everyone could access the latest albums and musicians’ events.
“It’s more a personal thing now, if you want to create a song or art you will do it and sell it anywhere you want you can promote it on Facebook or YouTube.
“The only way I can make money is playing live because it’s a straight forward avenue to earn money. I do not see a smooth transition from the old system to the new computer age and I’m not sure how they earn their money through their songs.,
“For me it’s through live performances and I still love the old ways of live music performances.
“We used to earn our income through selling CDs and cassettes. Those days are gone as modern technology is changing a lot of things so we are sticking to the old ways of playing live,” he said.
Herove said the lack of stingent copyright laws in the country was a very big concern for artists and song writers and anyone could steal their songs and the work they did so those are the risks and challenges in music and arts.
“As musicians are being elevated to higher levels in the industry as professionals they must know and learn to respect other artists and sing their own songs,” he said.
Herove was married to a woman from Hanuabada and Vabukori-Kirakira from the Boa-Henao tribe and they had a child.
After eight years of marriage she passed on in 2006 and he has been a bachelor since then.
He has continued to sing, write songs and record which is how he earns a living.
“I thank the member (MP Richard Masere) and the Ijivitari DDA for bringing me to Tufi and for the people of Baga and Tufi for looking after me. My encouragement to the young musicians is that music is an art and the world knows about PNG and the type of people and our art.
“I feel that most of my songs blend in well with the culture of the province and coming to Tufi I see no difference. I cannot pretend to be somebody else; I’m just being myself and my music is unique and to the taste of my fans.
“Wherever you are, stick to your music and write the songs that best suit your fans,” he advised.
Herove was a young boy with a lot of interest in string band music and he did his first recording at NBC Radio Northern.
He left the big group and moved on as a solo artist and came to Port Moresby where he met sound engineers Lister Laka and Sextus Kukuna from Chin H Min recording studios and he trialled his songs Sauga refugees and Sauga mei which hit the airways gaining popularity.
He then signed a contract to release his albums and he has since never turned back.
A young boy who once recorded his first string band song with the local radio NBC Northern has now become one of PNG’s favourite artists. Now a household name in the PNG music industry Herove is still going strong and promoting his songs on YouTube while keeping fans on their toes with live performances.
His latest song about Tufi and the music clip of Jayapura lewa which he produced in Baga Village will be out soon on the YouTube.