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Ngaiire brings new album to life with Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Ngaiire is not a straightforward artist, the kind that colours inside the lines. She goes out exploring. That search led her all the way to the forecourt of the Opera House 18 months ago, clutching a microphone and gazing over a crowd of 5000 people. It’s a big deal for a girl that grew up in a semi-rural village in Papua New Guinea, and a real milestone for an artist who continues to push herself into new creative ground.

Orchestras are big, powerful things. It is hard to fully appreciate that until you’re standing on stage in front of one.

“It’s wall of sound,” says Ngaiire. “People have been known to cry the first time they stand in front of an orchestra, I definitely felt that.”

The recording of that performance with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra was pressed to wax, and released last week as a her fourth full length album. Stripped back to its organic elements, and given a new dimension by the orchestration, the new format allows her lyrics and her voice to come to the fore. That is a very risky place for a singer to be.

Ngaiire 2024

Ngaiire can remember the first time she sang in front of other people. It was at a gathering of friends and family not long after moving to Australia. Her parents had an inkling she could sing, but no one had actually heard her do it.

“My dad was playing along on guitar,” she recalls. “I was so painfully shy that I wouldn’t rehearse. I just said to him ‘I’m going to sing on the inside’. He looked at me dumbfounded, but very obligingly, he let me rehearse the way I wanted to rehearse.”

The night rolled around, and with a crowd gathered and nowhere left to hide, Ngaiire opened her mouth and began to sing. The rest of that story is still being written. This weekend she returns to the Sydney Opera House to bring the album back to life with the Sydney Symphony.

Despite all her successes, Ngaiire remains grounded. She has a strong sense of where she came from, both in terms of her PNG community and with regard to her family. She comes from a long line of women that needed to be bold to get themselves where they needed to go, and without their sacrifices all might have turned out very different.

“It’s more than just Ngaiire” she said. “I’m carrying a lot of people through this process, and I’m taking them with me.”

ARIA Award-nominated future-soul superstar Ngaiire returns to the Sydney Opera House for a genre-defying concert with the Sydney Symphony and GODTET at 8pm.


Louis Isaac
Louis Isaac
Louis Isaac is a Sydney based artist and music producer under the name Kid Fiction, currently he is in his 2nd year studying Anthropology and Political Economy at the University of Sydney.

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