Not only was he a musical legend in Papua New Guinea but was a legend to me. If it wasn’t for Buruka Tau, I wouldn’t be playing bass today and Sheppard probably wouldn’t be a band.
He taught all three of us throughout our childhood at Murray International School and also private piano lessons before we moved to Australia.
When I finished school I had the option to learn bass and join my brother and sister on stage, I knew I had to learn from this man.
I flew to Papua New Guinea at the end of 2011 and had 3 weeks of intense bass lessons. 3 weeks later I played my first show with Sheppard and haven’t looked back.
Obviously, he was a brilliant teacher and the most patient and kind person. I’ve had numerous teachers and there was no one quite like Buruka.
He never made me feel like I couldn’t achieve it. We spent countless of hours together learning bass, learning how to sing and he even taught me how to play mandolin.
Buruka was one of my biggest supporters, he was always encouraging and never gave up on me and for that I will be forever grateful.
Last night after we got off stage we got the news that our friend and mentor Buruka Tau passed away.
It was a weird moment coming off stage and being so buzzed and then finding out the news and being so crushed at the same time.
I hope that Buruka was there with us watching over our show and I hope we made him proud.
My heart is truly broken and a piece of me on stage will always be missing.
PNG has lost a musical legend. He will be missed by a lot of people.
Sending my love and condolences to the Tau family.
Buruka’s legacy will always live on through Sheppard.
Image courtesy: Greg Sheppard