By JOYCE INGIPA
WAMSI Ilau is a name synonymous with the PNG music industry.
Wamsi, 58, entered the music scene in the late 70s and early 80s and immediately made a name for himself.
The drummer from Amazon Bay in Central performed with Maxi Priest, the successful reggae star, during his PNG tour in the early 80s.
Wamsi’s first band was formed after Independence in 1975 at the Idubada Technical College with his brothers and friends.
“All the band members moved into the business industry so I was the only one who kept recording albums.”
He performed with popular local bands such as Sanguma and Searoses from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
Wamsi started recording singles in the late 80s and early 90s with well-known artists such as Sir George Telek, Rabbie Gamenu and Betty Toea.
Wamsi, now a father of six, can play all instrument and sing at the same time.
“In the studio, I can generalise on the drums which is my specialty, base, keyboard, and also I can sing.”
Wamsi thinks the PNG music industry has dramatically evolved.
“The music industry has really changed. I am surprised that a lot of young guys are into software. It’s good but it makes them lazy because they are depending on an application to do all their work. The result will show when they are performing live because the live performance won’t be the same as the recorded one.
“ Music has the power to influence, build and change a person so it is important to promote positivity and good vibes in the lyrics we use in music.”
“I like it live because I was raised and grew up at a time when nothing beats the feeling of live performance. Yes, times have changed and we have to catch up with technology. But I still believe in plugging in and playing live.”
Wamsi worked for the Chin H Meen (CHM) studio as an audio engineer. He had worked earlier with the National Broadcasting Corporation’s Kalang programme.
His contribution to the music industry was recently recognised when he received the Meritorious Community Service Medal at Government House.
“It’s a big achievement for me. I am so proud of being a part of the music industry and getting this recognition from the government is a bonus.”
He dedicated the award to his parents, family and community.
He had also performed alongside renowned artists such as Bob Marley and the Blackbrothers from Indonesia.
His eldest son and daughter are working and living in Australia. The four younger children are working and schooling in Port Moresby.
Wamsi today does gigs with his band members during events and functions.
“I don’t do club performance anymore because I am getting old. It is too crowded and noisy for me.”
Ilau believes that every musician should create an atmosphere of unity, trust and respect through their music.
“Music has the power to influence, build and change a person so it is important to promote positivity and good vibes in the lyrics we use in music.”