Abiogenesis charms Bhutan with Howey music
The silence of the beautiful green valley of Thimpu, the capital city of Bhutan, was broken with the performance of Howey music by experimental Naga rock band Abiogenesis in front of a mammoth gathering at Clock Tower in Thimpu on August 15 last. Incidentally, the performance of the world-class Indian band marked the launch of Bhutan Star season 3, the most popular reality show in Bhutan, which strives to find the best singing star in Bhutan. Abiogenesis frontman Moa was asked to sign at the Bhutan Star certificates which were given to the participants.
The band, which is based in Nagaland, is famous for creating the avant-garde music ‘Howey’, a fusion of folk tunes and modern music. Their album “Aeon Spell” was listed for nominations at the 50th Grammy Awards, Rustic “Rustic Relish” in the 51st and their third album “Slice of Heaven” for the 53rd Grammy Awards. The family band has performed over 500 gigs in India, Thailand, and Myanmar. “The crowd was very responsive and sang Howey along with Arenla, the vocalist of the band,” recollects frontman Moa.
Later on the same day, Abiogenesis also performed in front of Indian dignitaries at the 800-capacity hall of the Indian embassy in Bhutan. The programme was organized by the Indian Embassy to celebrate the 65th Anniversary of Indian Independence Day. When the band started performing, the crowd started clapping and sang Howey along. After the show, the band members were felicitated by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk. Other dignitaries included the Prime Minister of Bhutan along with His cabinet ministers and MPs, 2 Princesses from the Royal Family, Diplomats of various Embassies in Bhutan, The Indian Ambassador and His lady wife, Director of Nehru Wangchuk Cultural Centre, Thimpu etc.
Following the performance in the high-profile concerts, Abiogensis is an energised and excited lot. Moa says, “It was really great performing in Bhutan. We never expected the kind of response that we got over there. All the dignitaries were awestruck by our performance and the Queen Mother herself commended on our energy on stage. Even the Prime Minister wants us to perform in Bhutan once again.”
The sound of the Bamhum, which is a wind instrument developed by Moa, was one of the main factors which endeared the band. Aren says, “Everyone praised the new form of world music and they were all enchanted by the sound of the Bamhum.” Both the above shows were shown live on Bhutan National Television CBBS and this channel is available in 42 countries.
The third performance of Abiogenesis in Bhutan was at Phuntsoling at the Phuntsoling Higher Secondary School auditorium. “The 1000-strong crowd which had gathered went frenzy when the concert kicked off and almost everyone was seen singing and dancing along with the music,” says Moa. The Phuntsoling show was organized by the Consulate General of India, India House, Phuntsoling, Bhutan.
Abiogenesis Bhutan Tour was coordinated by the Director, Nehru Wangchuk Cultural Centre, Thimpu, Bhutan and the tour was sponsored by ICCR.