For East Timorese permaculture expert, author and Victoria University masters student Ego Lemos, music was always a secondary occupation. That may change now he’s the winner of this year’s APRA Screen Music award for Best Original Song Composed for Screen.
His winning song, the title track of the award-winning film Balibo, was crafted in a few hours after he read the book on which the film was based, Jill Jolliffe’s Cover-Up: The Inside Story of the Balibo Five.
“I was reading Jill’s book before I went to sleep and literally tapped into their psyche at the time. I could inexplicably feel exactly what these young men felt as their lives were about to be taken away,” he said. “This award means a lot to me and the people of my country.”
Having lost members of his own family through conflict in the region, Ego naturally identified with the tragic story of other lives lost in the fight for freedom. He shares this in the powerful lyrics of his hauntingly beautiful song, sung in his native language, Tetum.
“I carry out my vocation, I’ve followed the right path,
In order to seek the truth and the freedom to speak the truth
My blood spills over, my body grows cold
Far away from home
Balibo, Balibo … far away … from home”
Ego accepted the award at a ceremony in Sydney on November 2.
The 35-year-old MA student is writing up his thesis on sustainable agriculture in Timor-Leste and expects to complete it at the end of this year.
He then plans to return to his homeland and work on developing native music, as well as continuing his lifelong passion for permaculture, which saw him establish Timor-Leste’s first permaculture institute, Permatil, and the sustainable agriculture network HASATIL.
Aside from his solo music career, Ego is also a member of East Timorese band Cinco do Oreinte, who have recorded two albums.
His highly acclaimed solo album O Hele Le was released in October.
Ego Lemos lives in Albion and is available for interview.
Media contact: Jim Buckell, A/Senior Media Officer
Marketing and Communications Department, Victoria University
Ph: (03) 9919 4243; mobile: 0400 465 459; email: [email protected]