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of Lele

Refugee, Singer & Proud West Papuan Woman

It's better to have people hate you for being you, than love you for who you're not.


Lele is a remarkable individual—a refugee, singer, proud West Papuan woman, mother of four daughters, and the wife of Australian world music star, Mitch Tambo. She is also a passionate advocate for refugee women in Australia and a dedicated decolonization activist.

Many West Papuan people have long crossed borders and fled their homeland to escape violence and persecution by militias and the Indonesian military, a crisis that has persisted since Indonesia annexed the region in 1962. Lele and her family, now residing in Melbourne, were granted refugee status after seeking safety in Australia in 1988, escaping the turmoil in West Papua.

Music has played a pivotal role in Lele's life from a young age, thanks to her late father, Agustinus

Rumwaropen, a revered cultural song man. He not only influenced Lele's musical journey but also instilled in her the belief that she could share her culture and songs with the world. Agustinus Rumwaropen was the lead singer and composer of the Black Brothers Band, a group that not only filled stadiums across the Pacific and Indonesia but also paved the way for many other Melanesian artists.

Fueled by her passion for music and her unwavering commitment to raising awareness about the struggles of West Papua, Lele, along with her sisters, embarked on their own musical journey, forming "The Black Sistaz." This talented group of sisters toured the world, sharing their music alongside renowned artists like UB40, Julian Marley, Michael Franti, Katchafire, Natiruts, George Telek, Edou, and SOJA. Their performances graced prestigious music festivals worldwide, including Cali Roots in Monterey (USA), Mundial (Netherlands), Glastonbury (UK), Montreal International Jazz Festival (CA), Ottawa Blues Festival (CA), Winnipeg Folk Festival (CA), Ostroda Reggae Festival (POL), WOMADelaide (AUS), and Woodford Folk Festival (AUS). They even had

the honour of opening for the Rugby League World Cup in 2017.

Committed to inspiring the next generation of performers, Lele collaborated proudly with her husband, Mitch Tambo, on a cultural exchange project known as "The West Papuan Youth Projects," uniting the Melbourne West Papuan and Aboriginal communities. This collaboration resulted in a new song that celebrated the strengths of both cultures and received radio airplay on Triple J and other stations across Australia and the Pacific.

In 2019, Lele took a temporary hiatus from "The Black Sistaz" to join Mitch Tambo on stage. During this time, she toured extensively with him across Australia and internationally, broadening her experiences and connecting with diverse communities. Lele's travels allowed her to work closely with vulnerable youth and members of the wider Aboriginal community. She became an integral part of Mitch's "Walanbaa" workshops, focusing on topics closest to her heart—culture, language, and empowerment. Through these initiatives, she encouraged young people and individuals from culturally diverse backgrounds to create positive and meaningful change.

Lele recently took on the lead role as a featured vocalist in the Australian national touring production of "Burn the Floor: Walanbaa Yulu-gi." This groundbreaking and inspirational journey combines First Nations culture and music with ballroom and Latin dance styles. Backed by a soundtrack of Australian rock classics and Mitch's own musical compositions, this extraordinary production is brought to life by the energy and passion of 20 dancers, vocalists, and musicians, creating an unforgettable experience for audiences worldwide.

Lele is currently in the studio recording new music. Her music continues to be a celebration of identity, rooted in a strong legacy, and fueled by an unwavering passion to continue the journey. Her music carries a message, and with that message, a movement. As one of the first West Papuan refugee families in Australia, Lele and her family musically convey the experience of living a life in exile.

Talking Points


Voice of Lele is a remarkable singer/songwriter who proudly represents her West Papuan heritage. She's also the wife of Mitch Tambo and has an incredible musical legacy, with her father being the lead singer and composer of the Black Brothers Band, a group that not only filled stadiums across the Pacific and Indonesia but also paved the way for many other Melanesian artists. Lele infuses her performances with a unique and captivating soulful, saltwater-inspired delivery that transports audiences to the heart of Australia's coastal beauty.


Lele, is a refugee, proud West Papuan Woman, and mother of four daughters, wife to Australian World Music Star, Mitch Tambo, and advocate for refugee women in Australia and the freedom of West Papua.

Many West Papuan people crossed borders and fled the country to escape violence and persecution by militias and Indonesian military, which has been ongoing since Indonesia annexed the region in 1962. Lele, and her family were granted refugee status in Australia in 1988 after fleeing West Papua.
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