'Once in a blue moon a drift of music so unlike any other enfolds your sensibilities and reaffirms the power of song' Warwick McFadyen, The Age, Melbourne, Australia 'Bagarap Empires is an intelligent, compassionate and sardonic Australian's response to his experiences as a Peace Keeper in Bougainville and the Solomon Islands' Doug Spencer, Presenter, ABC Radio National Over the last 5 years songwriter Iain Campbell Smith has spent time away from the Australian festival circuit to work in the war-ravaged islands of the South Pacific. Sent to the islands by the Australian Foreign Ministry, he learned pidgin dialect and began writing songs, in both English and pidgin, from the stories of the people he worked with as they struggled to build trust and peace after a bitter war He became a celebrity on Bougainville Island collaborating with local musicians to release 20,000 copies of a 'Songs of Peace' cassette, and hosting a weekly program on the island's only radio station. Bagarap Empires has been described as 'a focused work of storytelling through song.' They are stories of tough times in a faraway place. The experiences of men, women and nations at war are universal, and the parallels with American and Australian experiences in Vietnam and Iraq are strong. The first edition of Bagarap Empires was released in Australia in 2002 and gained legendary status on the Australian folk scene. Smith has added 4 new songs for this North American release, all written last year on his final tour of duty in Bougainville. Three of the tracks are sung in Papua New Guinea pidgin dialect including a light hearted jingle Iain wrote for Radio Bougainville. Sydney film maker Nick Agafonoff shadowed Smith for 3 weeks during his last tour of the island resulting in the documentary film Bougainville Sky, scheduled for release in June 2005. This unique album was co-produced by Peter Best, musical director for Crocodile Dundee. More quotes about Bagarap Empires: 'Wonderful songs, different and clever arrangements, and powerful performance make 'Bagarap Empires' one of most appealing efforts released by a contemporary songwriters in recent times.' Massimo Ferro, Radio Voce Spazio, Italy 'An album full of haunting, stirring, compassionate, sardonic and dark beauty' Deiter Bajzek, Folk Alliance Australia Newsletter 'A stunning marriage of ethereal poetry and hard nosed realism lyrically, with relentless rhythm and fragile, shimmering melody' Warwick McFadyen, The Age, Melbourne, Australia.
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