Catchy culture swap

 

The clip above was shown to me in a mega format through a beamer and I couldn’t help but feeling lifted. It is a happy clip. Although the back of my mind asked Why? going all the way to the other side of the world and do this clip with a local tribe? {The band Scouting for Girls is from London, check.}

It turns out it’s part of a new show on Sky television called Singing In The Rain Forrest, where famous musicians are taken to the most remote tribes on earth, to make music, together. The Westerners have to take in the tribe’s rituals, customs and the musical culture before presenting their style of music to the tribe. Who, don’t know them, have never seen or heard anything like it and don’t understand English. Clash of cultures one could think but (!) music is a base-level human instinct – dancing, making music and singing have been used since the dawn of time, so… can the universality of music bring two worlds together? That’s what the show is investigating.

They spend a week together, making music, and at the end there’s a grand finale concert for the village, it is all in the clip above, wonderful. (The newly recorded track will be available for download, and shares of the sales will benefit the tribe, check.)

So far the program, but WHAT tribe is this? What an amazing look!

Huli wigman

Huli men

Well, meet the Huli, aka the Huli Wigman. An indigenous people who live in the Southern Highlands districts of Tari, Koroba, Margaraima and Komo of Papua New Guinea. And the remarkable thing is, the men are wearing wigs, big, ornamented, selfmade -self grown!-wigs.

For the men in this tribe, the hair is the number one most important thing, and for the boys to attend ‘hair-school’. To grow strong, healthy hair, the young men live together in a monastic lifestyle under the guidance of a wig master.

When wearing traditional dress for ceremonies, the men decorate their bodies with colored clay and wear elaborate headdresses, which were originally made for warfare. From puberty, boys grow their hair long in order to make these ceremonial wigs. They learn to work with the cut hair, using pigments, bird feathers, and flowers as ornamental features. They all have their own individual style, but similar to others in the tribe.

Only after their wig is ready can they marry. They have both everyday wigs as well as ceremonial wigs, and for the ceremonials they prepare for hours.

 

About Wilma Tichelaar

relentless hunter gatherer of soothing beauty, great and small
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