A celebration of the North East

Musical delight

The charm of the North East came down to Delhi as the India International Centre (IIC) celebrated the music of this region in a concert recently.

The IIC, in collaboration with the Centre for North East Studies, brought together some fine musicians from the remote states to enthrall the audience of the evening.

Aptly titled ‘Beyond Borders’, the show paid a tribute to the late Dr Bhupen Hazarika, who is credited with popularising the music of this region outside the North East as well.

The first to perform was Robin Kalita, originally from Guwahati and an acclaimed singer, actor and anchor. He rendered songs composed and sung by Dr Hazarika. He started off with Sagar Sangam — a song in which the writer says that he has travelled over seven seas and oceans, but waves of water never stop arising in his heart.

His thirst for travelling never ends. Robin then sang Ganga Amar Maa, Padma Amar Maa which laments the division of the united Bengal into West Bengal and Bangladesh. The writer says that the Ganga river which flows through West Bengal, as well as the Padma river which runs across Bangladesh, are equally sacred to him.

The next to perform was Mayukh Hazarika, the son of distinguished Assamese singer Jayanta Hazarika and nephew of the late Bhupen Hazarika. He began with a Bhatiali song Sonar Boron Pakhi Re and followed it up with Akashe Ganga — a number by Dr Hazarika. He then sang the famous Raja Maharajao ka dola which describes how poor labourers carry the palanquins of rich maharajas over hills, while the privileged kings enjoy the journey. He ended his performance with the popular O Ganga Behti Ho Kyun by Dr Hazarika again.

Mayukh was followed by his wife Laili Dutta Hazarika, a lecturer at the Indraprastha College for Women, and an acclaimed singer herself. Mayukh and Laili first sang a romantic duet Jodi xosakoia kua tumi in which a girl asks her lover to describe how much he loves her.

She then sang the beautiful Radha Sura which describes a woman singing of her love while plucking leaves in the Assam tea gardens. Laili closed her performance with the famous Dil Hom Hom Kare which was popularised by Lata Mangeshkar in the movie Rudaali. Then came ‘Rewben and Saka Mashangva’ from Manipur.

Their music reflected the ongoing conflict in Manipur and the North East. Winning peace together and Let there be no more killings won the hearts of the audience too. This was followed by the ‘Nagaland Singing Ambassadors’. They specialise in choral singing and performed mainly Biblical hymns like Joshua in the battle of Jericho.

At the closing of the evening, they also performed popular numbers like Circle of life from the movie Lion King and My heart will go on from Titanic. The audience was regaled by the performances and the initiative by IIC to bring the North East close to rest of Indians.

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