Ego Lemos
 
'Balibo'
The Official Ego Lemos MySpace Page

East Timorean, Ego Lemos is a remarkable man. Regarded as a significant member of the East Timorese community, Ego uses a number of different voices to great cultural and agricultural effect. Firstly he is a singer songwriter who delivers his highly effective songs in his native tongue, Tetum. Secondly he is an international authority on Permaculture and he has travelled far and wide instigating workshops,teaching farmers and setting up projects in the concepts of sustainable agriculture. Thirdly he is a custodian of his country's traditions and culture and he uses a voice to make sure that there is a sense of cultural continuity within the East Timorese community.

The people of East Timore are passive by nature and have a great love and appreciation for music and the arts. Signed to Skinnyfish / Dramatico, Ego Lemos has become a spokesperson for East Timor's most popular contemporary band, Cinco de Oriente, who have interpreted and modernised some of the most beautiful and heart-wrenching traditional melodies from their nation’s history, and produced a wreath of original songs in the nation’s lingua-franca, Tetum. He sings about issues such as the centrality of water to life, praises the nation's farmers in their unceasing toil and urges his people to remain positive and strive for unity. These three voices have enabled Ego to travel broadening his own horizons while being able to spread his cultural and agricultural message.

It was while he was on one such excursion in 2006, performing at Australia's national Indigenous Festival, "The Dreaming Festival," that he came to the attention of Skinnyfish artists, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu and Michael Hohnen. Gurrumul was taken by the quality of Ego's voice, melodies and energy. "I watched Gurrumul tapping his fingers along to Ego's rhythms and soaking up the vibe. Ego's ability to move beyond language into pure music was evident, we both really loved his sound," says Michael Hohnen. Fast forward to 2009 and Ego Lemos' debut solo album, "O Hele Le" has been produced by Michael Hohnen and Craig Pilkington. "O Hele Le" is an album of subtlety seductive songs, though sung in Tetum, the emotions and melodies strike a deep chord. As Tom Richie of ABC Radio says, "While he sings in a language that many would not understand, you will get the feeling. It's all about the feeling.” One of the album's standout tracks, "Balibo" won Ego the Best Original Song Composed for Screen at the 2009 APRA screen awards. "Balibo" is also the title of a film starring Anthony La Pagila, based on a book, "Cover Up: The Story Of The Balibo Five," by Jill Jolliffe. The book is the true story of five journalists shot by Indonesian troops in the East Timorese conflict that Ego was no stranger to, having lost his Father and three siblings to the tragic events.

Triumphantly Ego has survived his nation's turmoil, though his activities have bought him close to death many times. Using his three voices and "O Hele Le" as a tool, Ego celebrates his and his nation’s resilience and is taking the message to a wider world.