by Serah Aupong – EM TV News, Port Moresby
They promised a spectacular, and a spectacular it was.
The main event of the independence celebrations in the nation’s capital, Port Moresby, managed to thrill the 15,000 strong crowd who paid to watch the live concert. And of course, those at home around the country that tuned in via EMTV.
The recently renovated Sir John Guise Stadium was again the centre of attention as the concert began with the distinctive sounds of the Sanguma Band.
Sanguma’s haunting music from one of, if not the oldest, bands in PNG accompanied an air show over the stadium.
The air show ended with skydivers descending into the stadium with a giant PNG flag.
The concert then continued, paying tribute to musicians the likes of Kanai Pineri and his famous “Wan Kantri”, who was accompanied by the police band.
Kiki Geno and the Paramana Strangers were there to remind the audience of the tunes that made the PS band famous.
The concert also highlighted the current flavour of PNG music in the likes of Anslom Nakikus and the Jokema band that thrilled the crowd with hits such as Jiks Ambe and Sexy Mona Kora.
A throwback to September 16, 1975 was an emotional affair for the stadium audience and those watching at home as of the host of the EMTV live broadcast, the legendary Roger Hau’ofa, could be heard trying to compose himself after viewing the throwback clip.
All these emotions set the scene for the international headliner, Michael Learns to Rock, who stayed true to their name.
While MLTR may not be everyone’s choice of music, from the audience’s reaction in the stadium, it is safe to say they have fans in PNG.
The day began with the raising of the PNG flag on Independence Hill, followed by the procession of the 400-year-old King James Bible to parliament house.
Out of a total budget of K25 million for independence celebrations, Port Moresby received K10million while the rest was shared among the 21 provinces.
While EMTV cannot confirm at this stage, money raised from ticket sales for the concert are understood to be shared amongst children’s hospitals around the country.