Airileke Ingram

Airileke Ingram is a musical pioneer and a fighter for freedom traversing a timeless sonic globe without frontiers. Born in Australia with roots in Papua New Guinea, Airileke grew up between the shores of both PNG and the Top End. He grew up learning traditional drumming from his ancestral village of Gabagaba (Drumdrum) near Port Moresby, the region’s ‘sing sing’ grounds for drums, dance and ceremony. As a touring percussionist, his resume expanded from Melanesian heroes Drum Drum and Telek to Australian indigenous trailblazers Bart Willoughby, Wild Water, Gurrumul, Yothu Yindi & Yirrmal. Airi’s unique sound melds progressive ideas with beats of ancient Melanesian culture. Hip-hop production, fierce log drumming, Papuan chants, atmospheric soundscapes and samples from the front line of the Free Papua Movement combine to evoke one of the region’s darkest stories: the illegal occupation and ongoing oppression of West Papua. In 2012, he co-founded the Rize of the Morning Star global solidarity movement and independent record label, with the intent of raising awareness about West Papua and other indigenous cultures in the region. The organisation develops new music from West Papua and PNG as well as nurturing art and culture in service of West Papua’s ongoing fight for “merdeka” — freedom.