Dark, danceable future soul from Papua New Guinea in a sophomore album named after the singer’s childhood cancer: Ngaiire is a talent from Oceania to look out for
Ngaiire is an R&B and soul singer who was born and raised in Papua New Guinea and currently resides in Australia. She is not well known outside of those parts, and it’s a shame, because her music is simultaneously transcendent, full of love and light, but also of darkness, detachment and impending catastrophe. No surprise: in her lifetime Ngaiire survived volcano eruptions and cancer, in honor of which this album is named “Blastoma”. But as dark as that connection may be, the music is also remarkably danceable, both in high tempo and a slow romance, a perfect fit for that time when you cook dinner for the beloved and then drink a bit too much wine, and stuff gets out of hand and you’re picking out gravestones.
Ngaiire’s music reminds me particularly of Frank Ocean, with all the loops and repeated phrases, with the doom of it, and there’s a particular earthiness in the lyrics they both share. But it’s also independently fascinating: blending the traditional soundings of the genres with something fully unique, her own, Oceania gothic, perhaps. Ngaiire has recently gone through a rough patch with health scares and a complicated birth, but it seems like she’s back in the loop now, and I’m waiting anxiously for some new music from her.
Blastoma by Ngaiire