Airileke Ingram is a Melbourne-based percussionist/producer who’s been omnipresent in the Australian world music scene since the mid-90s. Raised in Papua New Guinea and Darwin, trained in both classical percussion and the traditional rhythms of his ancestral Papua New Guinea village of Gabba Gabba, he was a founder of the innovative percussion and dance troupe Drum Drum, which was active for over a decade. In 2008 he teamed up with the Pacific Islander krump crew Royal Fam and DJ Dexter (from Aussie electronic band The Avalanches) to create the dynamic hip-hop performance team Grrilla Step. More recently he’s been a central member of both the touring pan-Pacific group Sing Sing and Rize of the Morning Star – a band championing the independence struggle occurring in West Papua (aka Irian Jaya, the Indonesian occupied half of the Papuan island).
The release of Airileke’s first solo album is cause for celebration, as it fully allows him to showcase his many diverse influences and talents, combining traditional instrumentation and rhythms with digital technology and hip-hop beats. The track ’7 Mile Dub’ remixes the garamut (slit log) drumming of the Paluai Sooksook group from Baluan Island, while the Gabagaba songmen chant down on ‘Bubu Billy’ and the legendary Rabaul vocalist George Telek is sampled in ‘Boys Town Teleke’. Elsewhere Port Moresby rapper Dadiigii verbally spices up ‘Jump Outta Babylon’ and ‘Sook Sook.’ Call it Pacific Worldbeat, PNG tribal-groove or whatever label you prefer, but there’s no doubting that Weapon of Choice makes for a very cool and energetic listening experience.
TRACK TO TRY: Will
(On Wantok Musik)