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.
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
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.
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.