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News |  31 Jul 2020 19:20 |  By Tolika Yeptho

Get a sneak peak into Nagaland's rich music culture!

MUMBAI: Music is an intrinsic part of life for the Nagas.

With many inborn qualities of the Naga tribes, Nagaland is known for its rich traditional art, crafts and music. The indigenous Folk songs and tales keep the oral tradition of the Nagas alive. It is said that the ancient Nagas communicate with one another through songs, singing with different melodies and expressions. The folk songs signify both ‘Romantic’ and ‘Historical’. Each song has its own aspiring themes, and with every song comes different steps of dances; war dance is the most famous dance of the state. The people narrate stories and messages through their songs; poetic love songs sung for their loved ones, while some tell the stories of famous ancestors and the wars. The “Hereileu” song is known as the war song of Nagaland.

Nagaland is widely known as the “Land of Festivals”, the 16 tribes of Nagaland celebrate their own divine festivals throughout the year with their own folk songs and dances.

Realizing the importance of preserving the cultures of Nagaland for the future generation, the Government has put an interest to promote young singers and help them establish music as a profession rather than a hobby. The schools, colleges and universities have now given opportunities to the students by organising programmes in the school like cultural programmes and festivals which help the students to preserve their traditions and cultures. The state Government introduced Music Task Force (MTF) to uplift young musicians and later it was renamed as Task Force for Music & Arts (TaFMA). It is the first state in India to have introduced music as an industry.

A lot of Naga musicians have now become great influencers for the younger generations both in the western music and folk songs, some of them are Tetseo sisters who are widely known, Nise Meruno, Alobo Naga, Tali Angh, Theja Meru, Purple Fusion, Pretty Rhythm and many more. Guitar has also become famous among the young boys and girls of Nagaland due to the cultural influence of Christianity.

The state Government also organises a ten-day annual cultural festival “Hornbill Festival” and “Hornbill International Rock Contest” in Kohima, capital of Nagaland, every December. It showcases varieties of cultural displays under one roof, which is also the busiest tourist season for the state. Another annual musical and cultural festival is the “Handshake Concert” with the theme of spreading universal friendship and understanding “one handshake at a time” in collaboration with Rolling Stone India.

Nagas are fond of music and their musical instruments. Each tribe has its own unique traditional instruments. The instruments are indigenous which are made from Bamboo. String instruments are mostly dominated some of which are “Tati” also known as “Libuh” (single string fiddle invented by Chokri- Chakhesangs), “Theku” (Only played by boys), “Bamhum” (wind instrument made of Bamboo invented by Moa Subong, vocalist from the band Abiogenesis), “Asem” (drum with animal skin masked upon carved wood), “Jemji” (Horn made using mithun horn), “Log Drums” or “Pate” (produce signature sound ‘Te Vaka’, originally designed by Opetaia and his father in law, Brian Clay), “Atutu” (handcrafted bamboo trumpet used by the Pochury tribes of Meluri), “Mrabung” (Zeliang), “Malen” and “Cup Violin” (popularly used by Ao) and “Petu” (Angamis and Chakhesangs).