Monthly Archives: October 2013

Star musicians launch Assamese Durga stutis in Mumbai



Three maestros of the Indian music world launched the first album of Assamese Durga stutis in Mumbai recently. The chief guest Bhajan Samrat Anup Jalota launched the devotional album, Invocation of Ma, by Assamese mother-daughter violinist duo Minoti Khaund and Sunita Khaund Bhuyan at the Spandan Foundation Durga Puja celebrations in Powai.

The guests of honour were Grammy award winner Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and the singer with the golden voice Hariharan, all of them resplendent on stage with the Assamese silk seleng sadors. The highlight of the evening was a performance by the mother-daughter duo and singer Sanjeeta Khaund and veteran tabla player Pradeep Ghosh.

The icing on the cake during the launch ceremony was a rendition of two special Bengali songs by Anup Jalota ending with his super hit Bhajan “Aisi Laagi Lagan” that brought the house down with everyone singing together. Mamoni Kalita, an Assamese musician in Mumbai, said, “It was truly an iconic moment for Assamese artists when three such great maestros attended an event on the same stage for an album release and violin performance. It showed the respect and regard that the maestros had for Ma Durga and their appreciation for Minoti and Sunita’s music.”

The album “Invocation of Ma” was produced keeping in mind the theme of “Ma Shakti” which the goddess Durga signifies and is composed in Raag Durga. The album was produced for the Durga Puja celebrations of Spandan foundation in Powai whose theme this year is girl child and women empowerment.



 Talking about the album, Sunita says, “The music performed during Durga Puja before the Goddess Ma Durga is basically to invoke the strength and the energy of Ma Shakti for good over evil. The album has two original stutis in Assamese and Bengali written and composed by Minoti and sung by me and Sanjeeta Khaund. This is followed by a rendition of Raag Durga in Hindustani classical style by me and my mother on the violin.”

 Minoti and Sunita shall carry the same performance to Sri Lanka and Singapore for their performances on the theme of Ma shakti to support women’s empowerment.

Tura gears up for 100 drum Wangala fest


(Photo courtesy: Visma K Thapa, Additional Information: Saidul Khan)

The much awaited 36th hundred drums Wangala festival 2013 will kick start on November 7th this year. The annual colourful Wangala dance festival of the Garos will be held at Asananggre, 18 kms from Tura in Meghalaya’s West Garo Hills.

 Preparation for the festival is going on in full-swing. Members of the organizing committee informed that the three day festival will see participation of 60 tour operators both national and international. Tourists from UK, Ireland, China, Thailand and Korea have registered to participate in the mega cultural event.

 Editor Achik Songbad Dr Alva B Sangma is handling the publicity and promotion for the event as its Convenor. Dr. Sangma said, “Tour operators from various countries have been sponsored by Meghalaya Tourism to participate in the three day festival,” adding “The operators will promote Wangala festival internationally”.

 “This is for the first time that the tourism department of Meghalaya has taken the initiative to invite such huge contingents of tour operators. We are making all possible effort to woo the operators to brand Wangala globally”, said Dr. Sangma.

 The festival is being organised by 100 Drums Wangala Festival Committee. The special attraction for this years’ event will be SBI Master Chef competition, wherein participants will be cooking on the spot indigenous Garo cuisines.

 The Wangala is the most significant post harvest festival of the Garos. It is a “Thanksgiving” ceremony to Misi Saljong, also known as Pattigipa Ra’rongipa (The Great Giver) for having blessed the human beings with rich harvest of the season.

 It also gives an opportunity for the hardworking Garo people a moment to take a break from their routine work and spend time in merriment. The dance festival popularly called as the ‘100 drums festival’ is organised to showcase the rich and vibrant culture of the Garos’. This also gives the message to protect, preserve and to learn the dying culture.

 Though most of the participating teams in this event are Christians, a few teams represent the Songsarek (the non Christian). The celebration starts with Rugala ceremony – a ritual performed by the Nokma (village chief). As legend goes the Nokma offers the first hand special rice beer along with cooked rice and vegetables to Misi Saljong.

 However, the actual celebration takes places with Chachat so·a ceremony, the burning of incense at the central pillar of the Nokma’s house, performed by the Nokma. This is followed with the dance.

 All these rituals are well portrayed in the festival.


Second edition of Monalisa Chankija’s Monsoon Mourning released


 Prof A.J. Sebastian, Head of the Department of English, Nagaland University earlier this month released the second edition of Monsoon Mourning, the second poetry collection of veteran Naga journalist and poet Monalisa Chankija. The release function which was held at NEZCC hall in Dimapur was widely attended by a diverse spectrum of people comprising well known litterateurs, writers and journalists.Image

 Monalisa Chankija had written two volumes of poetry, ‘Weapons of Words of Pages of Pain’, and ‘Monsoon Mourning’ in 1993 and 2007 respectively. While both were highly popular, the second edition of Monsoon Mourning had to be brought out this year based on popular demand as the earlier stocks had run out. The new edition has been published by the Heritage Publishing House, one of the premier publishing houses of the region.

 Monalisa Chankija is a noted journalist, poet and writer who is also the editor of Nagaland Page. She is slated to receive the 2013 Governor’s Award for her pioneering work in Nagaland early next year.


 Monalisa collection of poetry will become part of the NEZCC’s collection of art and culture works from the region for its silver jubilee celebration. “This collection of poems talks of the courage of women, of survival in an insurgency-prone area. They reflect longings, unfulfilled promises and hope for the future,” said Som Kamei, Director of the NEZCC.

 Presenting a reflective and explanatory review of the collection titled ‘Monsoon Mourning’, Professor A.J. Sebastian, said, “The poems are a window to some of the contemporary social concerns prevalent in the Naga society which call for concerted effort from all quarters. She has been very articulate in expressing her anguish which will certainly have their due share of influence on society ushering in societal transformation in the midst of social woes.”

 Monalisa Changkija’s poems have been introduced in courses run by the Nagaland University, the North East Hills University as well as by the Nagaland Board of School Education. To facilitate the increasing number of Naga and non-Naga students, particularly young women studying Changkija’s poems academically and in-depth, lengthy reprints and analyses have been included in the second reprint of Monsoon Mourning.