The Northeast of India has been the cradle for all significant effects in music. The seven states still remain the preferred destination for several international acts in India. The youth has a keen sense of music and fusion is truly child’s play in this melodious land. With a long history of nurturing women’s bands, there is a distinct rise in the number of all-women’s groups coming to the fore and some with a traditional twist to the contemporary tales. The women of the Northeast are fascinating and quite a few have joined hands to become brilliant ambassadors of their region.
This bunch of six Christian girls from Mizoram is going the distance to shift the spotlight to their native language — Mizo. Formed in 2009, the group makes Mizo music relatable to non-Mizo speaking groups. While their music falls under the category of gospel, they have added several new traditional twists to their compositions that make it endearing to all. “We are bringing different types of music together to praise the Almighty Father,” they say. The band includes Seni on the guitar, Fiona on vocals, Mawitei also on vocals, Xoey on the bass, Afeli on the drums and Malsawmi on the keyboard. One of their lead vocalists, Fiona, won one of the music Special Award at Moonlight Awards 2011.
The most talked about sister outfit of 2015, the Tetseo Sisters are as traditional and soulful as can be. Their Naga folk genre Li has won them acclaim from across the country and beyond. “We do perform English and a few Hindi songs too, but we intend to revive and celebrate our traditional music in a tangible way and that’s what we have been doing,” the sisters say. Also a signature of their performance is the use of traditional instruments. “We often play one-stringed instrument Tati, gourd shakers khro khro, the bamboo instrument Bamhum, and the mini skin/log drum Ba lo,” they say.
The duo from Shillong primarily comprises the blues rock outfit — Rudy Wallang (the only male on our list) and girlfriend Tipriti Kharbangar. They have taken the national capital quite by storm with their soulful compositions and the ability to adapt and accommodate a variety of other performing musicians. They are also one of the most-travelled bands from the Northeast with their musical performances in Europe, Middle East as well as America. They have left their mark in Dubai, Singapore and Washington DC and keep coming back to their devoted audience in New Delhi for more.
The Vinyl Records
The quartet and their “keytar”, a fusion of the sitar and keyboard, is quite the funk rock sensation. “All of us are from Arunachal Pradesh. Three of us studied at the same school and we used to jam together. We met the vocalist at a music school and the band just happened,” says drummer Mithy Tatak. Formed in 2010, the quartet won acclaim at the MTV F1 Rocks 2011. The girls have also graced the pages of several fashion glossies along with some news magazines. Their debut EP is called Whims and was released in 2013.
This band from Shillong is easily the mostloved outfit from Meghalaya. The name for their band refers to a “divine inspiration” which inspired these teachers to join forces in 2004. “The name’s a hook, it stands out. But it’s honest. We were inspired by music.” Over the years, they have delighted audiences with covers of their favorite groups and have now been making their own music. “You have to be good to keep them around,” says Karen Donoghue of the band. “Initially, people were not ready for original rock from local bands. Now they are more accepting.” Their music is a mix of rock and reggae which is “easy on the ears yet close to the heart”.
Genesis of Pink
This band from Sikkim comes armed with a four-member dance crew to complete the act. The punk rock outfit came together in April 2013. “We have got a lot of support from Sikkim and Northeast. The people are very interested to know more about our music since we are an all-girl band and this is something new in Sikkim,” they say. Unlike the other bands featured here, these girls have brazenly dared to take on issues like rape and domestic violence through their songs. They are focused on offering more than just a melody to their audience and that comes through in the use of instrumental bridges in their music combined with powerful lyrics.
Putting questions about the ability of women to perform serious rock music to test, this six member band from Imphal is the ‘Nirvana from the Northeast’. “The current situation makes it difficult for a pure western music group to find space in the music scene as compared to those with traditional sounds fused into them.” Nonetheless, the girls have made their state proud with well-received performances in less than two years. Still on the path to selfdiscovery, they do not have a fixed theme for their music. “There is no definite theme in content but yes it includes lyrics based on life, dreams, status of women and of course the universal theme, love,” they say
Written by : Susmita M