Tuesday February 19, 2019

Bollywood appreciates folk artists: All girl band from Nagaland

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By Debaprio D. Choudhury 

New Delhi: Bollywood may be stereotypical and commercialized with its formula content but offers a “great platform” for folk artistes to display creativity on a large scale and gain popularity, feels an all-girl band from Nagaland – the Tetseo Sisters.

The band, which performs traditional folk music of Nagaland’s Chakhesang tribe and along with  folk fusion, consists of four Tetseo siblings – Azi, Mercy, Kuvelu and Alune – as its members.

Founded in 1994, the band is credited with being able to bring Naga folk music to a larger audience.

“We love a lot of things about Bollywood, while certain things make us cringe too. Indie music and folk have more recently found a place in Bollywood and that is good news,” Mercy of the Delhi-based band was quoted by a media outlet.

“For all its commercialism and stereotypical formula treatment, Bollywood is a great platform for artistes to gain popularity and make it good financially. It also gives great opportunity for creativity on a large scale,” she said and added that they get inspired by life.

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The folk quartet said their songs were about daily life existence, beauty, nature, family, love, friendship, death, pain and happiness. They sing “Li” (folk songs) in Nagaland’s Chokri dialect.

The band members, dressed up in their miniature versions of the traditional Chakhesang costumes, play instruments like Tati (one stringed instrument), Khro-khro (shakers), drums and Bamhum.

On their songs and music, Kuvelu said: “We sing some traditional (Naga) lyrics as well as some that we have written. ‘O Rhosi’, ‘Apulio Lizo’ (prayer song), ‘Ohe!’ and ‘Hiyo! Hiyo!’ are some of our well-appreciated songs. We also perform western contemporary music.”

“Our songs celebrate life and certain virtues and values. They talk about identity and describe a beautiful way of life close to nature,” added Kuvelu who is part of the quartet that has featured in many cultural events across India and abroad.

The band members said they were always open to varied experiences and opportunities to make new and different kinds of music.

Photo 2_1438430168 (1)The Tetseo Sisters said they were now on a mission to create awareness about the need for environment protection, gender equality and racial discrimination.

“We are not activists of any kind. But we want to highlight the need for environment protection, recycling, gender equality, racial discrimination and safety for women across the country,” said Alune, a key member of the band that has jammed with folk musicians from India and abroad.

Asked about their future plan, Azi told a media outlet: “Our dream is to go on a worldwide tour. Slowly but surely, we are pretty close to getting there.”

On the growing trend of all-girl bands in the northeast region, she said: “…it is probably because of the love of music inherent in people of the hills and the more socially egalitarian tribal culture that lets girls be more individualistic and free to pursue their interests.”

“However, there are many famous female vocals fronting many top bands from the rest of the country; so it’s not like there is a dearth of female musical talent around the country barring the northeast states. To us, it doesn’t really matter if a group is all male or female so long as they make great music,” she said.

Asked whether the band faced any problem in connecting with audiences in other parts of India, Mercy said good music does not need a language.

“We have been playing in Delhi for a while. Yes, we sing in a dialect spoken by very few people and that’s the beauty of it. Some things can’t be translated but thankfully with music, you just need to hit the right notes for the melody to capture your listener’s soul and do its job.

“We have had a variety of audiences and they have never faced any problems getting the intent of the songs, and we also try to share a gist of each song that we sing. Good music does not need a language. It speaks to the soul,” said Alune as the band’s popularity continues to grow in other parts of India.

(IANS)

Next Story

Bollywood Tells Stories About Love, But Also Highlights Stalking

Cinema gets a dose of creepiness in the name of love

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Image: IANS

Be it Varun Dhawan’s attempts to woo Alia Bhatt in “Badrinath Ki Dulhania”, or Akshay Kumar following Bhumi Pednekar and clicking her photographs without her consent in “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha” or Shah Rukh Khan singing the famous “Tu haan kar ya na kar, tu hai meri Kiran” — Bollywood tells stories about love but also highlights stalking.

Social activist Ranjana Kumari blames cinema for creating a culture of stalking women.

“They show that initially women say ‘No’ but don’t take ‘No’ for a ‘No’. It is actually a ‘Yes’. It has been there since long. Stalking has been packaged in a romantic way,” Kumari told IANS.

“It conveys the superiority that men have over women. She, in any case, has to give in. It is a myth that is being perpetuated by creating this culture… She is still an object of his desire,” she added.

Actress Swara Bhasker, who appeared in “Raanjhanaa”, admitted that the Aanand L. Rai directorial glorified stalking.

Bollywood Actor Varun Dhawan
Varun Dhawan.

“When it came out, it got panned by feminists for glorifying stalking… For a long time, I refused to believe it and thought that it is not true… But then as time passed by, I was like, actually, maybe yes,” she said when she joined actress Kareena Kapoor Khan for an episode of her radio show.

According to psychologist Samir Parikh, films have an impact on people at some level or the other.

“When you see something being presented in a palatable manner to you, you feel it is okay to do it, so you get desensitised to it. You get disinhibited and it changes your perception of reality. People, especially youngsters and vulnerable ones, end up doing what they see their role models doing,” Parikh told IANS.

Also Read- Pakistan to Curb ‘Hate Speech’ on Social Media

“It is important to educate and upgrade people and give them the right support and guidance,” he said.

All is not fair in love, and it is time to put the lens on it as well. (IANS)