Demianus W Koerni Passed Away, Papua Gets Lost One of Its Best Musicians

A musician and co-founder of the Mambesak music group, Demianus Wariap Koerni, passed way of illness in Deventer, the Netherlands on Sunday (20/6/2021). The personnel of Mambesak, Constantinople Ruhukail and the son of the late Arnold Ap, Oridek Ap expressed their condolences for the loss of one of Papua’s best musicians.

The personnel of Mambesak Constantinopel Ruhukail remembers Demianus Wariap Koerni as a singer of Mambesak who always sings with his heart. Ruhukail recalled that Arnold C Ap, the founder of Mambesak, also praised Koerni’s skill in singing the Ekari language folk song, an indigenous people in Paniai Regency, Papua, entitled “Domi Douw”.

“In that conversation, Arnold C Ap said, ‘Prison, you sing while enjoying the song. It is as if the prisoners are on the edge of Lake Paniai’,” said Ruhukail Wednesday (23/6/2021).

Ruhukail said Mambesak taught how to feel love and belonging to this Cenderawasih Earth. “It doesn’t matter if you are island people, you are beach people, you are mountain people or you are valley people, you are river and lake people, we are all Papuans,” he said.

The son of the late Arnold C Ap, Oridek Ap, said that Papuans again mourned the loss of one of the founders of the Mambesak music group. Oridek remembers Koerni as a substitute for the father who educated him and his younger siblings. “You have protected us when we were little. Mother always reminded us of the kindness of Uncle Demianus Wariap Koerni. You teach us about our cultural heritage, you teach us to be proud of who we are,” he said.

More than that, Oridek also remembers Koerni as a comrade in arms of his father, working to raise the pride of the injured Papuan nation. “After the Wamena massacre with Operation Koteka in 1977, it was very dark in West Papua. When [it feels] hopeless. However, they set the record straight, organizing the Mambesak group to preserve Papuan identity through music and art,” said Oridek.

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