Fundraiser campaign launches for George Telek as he faces surgery for cancer
A fund raising campaign has begun for ARIA-winning Papua New Guinea artist and performer George Telek.
He has been diagnosed with cancer of the mouth, and is due to have major surgery in Brisbane.
At this stage it is not known if he can sing again.
The campaign, initiated by David Bridie’s Melbourne based world music collective Wantok Music, has a target of $60,000, and is at available to view here.
Telek has been spearheading the global popularity of PNG music for 40 years and received an MBE medal as a result.
He first came to attention in Australia on Melbourne band Not Drowning Waving’s Tabaran album (Warner Music) which was recorded in PNG.
The TELEK album was recorded in Tim Finn’s Melbourne studio and issued through ORiGiN in 1997. It went on to win an ARIA award.
A second album was issued worldwide through Peter Gabriel’s Real World label.
Telek followed up its release with performances on several WOMAD festivals and dates in the US and the Pacific.
Still living in his village of Raluana, near the PNG capital of Rabaul, Telek continues to perform in Australia and other countries.
His last major Australian appearances at WOMADelade last month and the A Bit Na Ta show at the Commonwealth Games.
Wantok Music related: “He had a large growth on his bottom lip and inside his mouth. He was taken to doctors and then to hospital in Brisbane for examination.
“He has been diagnosed with a malignant and aggressive tumour on his mouth.
“George is about to undergo intensive surgery to remove the cancer at Royal Brisbane Hospital.
“The surgery will involve removing the cancerous growth, removing lymph glands in his neck and then reconstruction of his mouth.
“Due to the nature of the cancer it will also involve radiation therapy to remove any remaining cancerous areas.”
Telek’s Australian supporters are determined to provide him with the best medical treatment possible.
However, “because George is not an Australian citizen, these medical procedures will be expensive.
“Although internationally renowned, George is still a grassroots musician who does not have the funds needed to pay for this expensive treatment.
“We are calling on people who have been touched by his music to help us.”
The $60,000 targeted will cover costs of surgery, radiation therapy, reconstruction of the mouth (so he can hopefully sing again) and speech pathology costs.
Telek is not expected to be able to perform for six months.
So remaining funds will go towards helping him and his family while he is unable to earn an income.