Everyday People: Steven Pala

From building his passion in playing the drums at a very a young age, local drummer from Daru got earned his reward with being a cultural ambassador from PNG to Dubai.

Steven Jeffery Pala’s interest in playing the drum started when he was a kid. He was inspired by the Sound of Daru Band, who performed live in his village.

He was inspired also because the local drummers made music to earn an income and fight poverty.

Every afternoon after school, young Steven would watch this musician’s play in a spot called Bamukona where he grew up. He enjoyed doing other fun activities, but as soon as the musicians started setting up, he would be there right next to the drummer to see how he set up his instrument.

Soon Steven mastered his own style of playing. One day, musicians from Port Moresby travelled to Daru and performed and his interest grew even more. He watched big names in the music industry play like John Hakalitz, Andy Miron, Adrian Gedisa, and Wayne A’tosoa. He realized there was a big difference in their music in terms of professionalism and the basics of music, compared to what he grew up with. From there, he ventured into a different style of playing the drums.

Steven gets to play overseas now, something he has always dreamt of doing. Not only does he get to show off his talent, he carries the PNG flag with pride.

Steven’s father has always been his main support. His father saw his passion and encouraged him to never give up.

His first breakthrough performance as a musician was in 2014 when he performed for Jokema. It took him only three years to be recognized and called in by artists in the country to play for them on their tours. He has played for artists like Taita Maraga, Felix Yausi, Demas Saul and Basil Greg. He has also played for international artists like Sharzy, Saba, Jah Boy and the Dezine boys from the Solomon Islands. His biggest challenge as a drummer was playing pure samba dancehall for African singer Papa Cidy who came to perform in PNG.

Steven is now a self-established musician with his own band called the Cool Range Band. Apart from playing the drums he is fond of the bass guitar, a little bit of keyboard and he also uses his amazing vocals.

His first tour overseas was in 2016 to Brisbane with the Metere Crew. He said his Dubai trip is the biggest breakthrough to play for the King of PNG Reggae Music Anlsom Nakikus.

Steven thanks the Lord for blessing him with such a talent and a progressive music career.

His advice to aspiring musicians is to always be dedicated to your dream and to be committed. Steven said he has broken so many barriers with just having a positive attitude.

Photo caption: Steven Pala of the Cool Range Band playing drum during one of his many appearances in gigs around the country.

Joachim Lolok, UPNG Journalism Student