Prithiviraj’s Journey Into Tribal Music
By Rajmani Ayekpam
In this world of music, pop music is everywhere. Even, young people of today never thought of folk music are scattered here and there around his/her neighborhood. Today’s world of electronic media, pop music tries to overshadow every corner of music. There’s no space for folk and tribal music. Nobody remember folk / traditional and tribal music was the mother of pop music.
But, some music enthusiasts of today love folk / traditional and tribal music very much in their heart. They mesmerized with originality of this music. Even, some musicians devoted their whole life for the promotion / preservation of folk / traditional and tribal music. They consider folk / traditional and tribal music is the carrier of civilization. Anybody can trace down his / her ancestors through folk / traditional and tribal music.
Some institutions or agencies of today financed for the preservation or promotion of folk / traditional and tribal music by understanding of their value in this techno savvy world. Once these footprints lost from this world they can’t be recovered anymore. The lost is the loss of mankind. But, preservation of this folk / traditional and tribal music needs love and caring from music lovers. Some money from institutions or agencies can’t save folk / traditional and tribal music from the verge of extinction without the love and support from music practitioners and enthusiasts.
On last 14th April, 2019, a young talented artist, Laishram Prithiviraj Singh presented a musical performance entitled ‘Chingnunggi Khonthang’ (Echo from Hills), Manipuri Rare Folk Musical Ensemble at Keishamthong Hodam Leirak Lai Lampak, Imphal West under the financial assistance of Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India. In this performance, Laishram Prithiviraj as a main artiste, the other participating artistes were H. Bhagat & H. Nisheshwor Singh (Sirangdar), L. Milan Singh (Bass Sananta), Ph. Basanta Sharma (Pena and Banshi), I. Robert (Langden), H. Haoba (Drum), Boy Macha & T. Sanakan (Khong), L. Nelson, A. Imocha & A. Sarangajit (Kitato), S. Ajit Meitei (Rel Row), K. Dinamani Mangang (Seraki) and Laishram Prithiviraj Singh (Yangkahui, Rosem, Pheiro & Theilleh) etc.
Prithiviraj is one of the few young talented musicians of this day and also recipient of many awards and fellowships. He acquired Arts graduate in general education and got Visharad (Flute) in music. Presently, he is the Artistic Director of Penta Fusion, an innovative Manipuri traditional and classical music performing group. As a promising artiste, he participated many national and international festivals like at New Delhi, Andaman & Nikobar, Kolkata, Chennai, Shillong & Guwahati at the national level and at Singapore, North Korea, South Korea & Republic of Armenia at the international level.
Besides, he has been awarded second position in Indian Classical Solo (Flute) in 2005 and 2008 in the State Level Youth Festivals, awarded Young Talented Artiste by NEZCC, Dimapur in 2009-10, Young Scholarship by the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India, New Delhi and Junior Fellowship under the Ministry of Culture, New Delhi in 2017 etc.
In this musical performance, Privithiviraj nicely composed in modern style by using some of the best known tribal musical instruments like Sirangdar, Sananta, Langden, Kitato, Seraki, Yangkahui, Rosem, Pheiro, Theilleh etc. These tribal instruments are compared with modern musical equipments. They have produced unique acoustic sound and they can entertain audience easily.
Manipur is small state having two types of geographical composition i.e. hill and valley. There are thirty-four recognized tribal communities in Manipur. Valley area is known for the major community i.e. Meitei and Hill area is known for the tribal people. Each community has unique character and culture. Different forms of dance and music of each community decorated their communities. Dance and music of each community played a very important role for the development of cultural life in Manipur.
In valley, there is so much of dance and music in their cultural life. Today, Manipur is proud of dance and music in their cultural life. This is due to rich cultural heritage of the valley area. Some of the developed countries of the world envy Manipuri cultural life particularly in dance and music. So, few artistes from other parts of the world came to Manipur to learn Manipuri dance and music. Rich cultural life of India can’t be completed without Manipuri culture.
However, both modernity and Christianity arrived at the hill area at same time and then their cultural life preserved by their fore-father is fast losing its value and identity. They have been replaced by modern / western life style. After some time their aged-old musical instruments may not have a place in their cultural milieu. Moreover, the youth, future of these communities may not able to enjoy their old musical instruments.
In this tribal musical performance, Prithiviraj intellegently composed a musical piece by using some of tribal musical instruments which mixing with few traditional and modern musical instruments in modern style without disturbing the originality of these indigenous instruments. Such musical piece can attract attention of the even sophisticated audience of urbanite. If Privithiviraj’s attempt goes to continue there will be a great work for the promotion / preservation of these rare tribal musical instruments. For the preservation of these tribal musical instruments it needs modern outlook. If we support Privithiviraj’s endeavor it will be a priceless gift for the preservation of Manipuri culture and tribal music in particular.
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