By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: Pointing to the reformation taking place in the field of traditional music, Padmashree awardee and renowned Khasi musician Helen Giri said that people have started to seriously consider music as a career after seeing the huge employment opportunities which are being generated in the past few years.
“In the past, people would consider it a madness to send their children to any music institute. But I am pleased to see the changing of mindset among the people at large about music as a profession. I am pleased there are many music post graduates students who have been accommodated in various music institutes as faculties,” Giri said during a one-day workshop on ‘Traditional Musical Instruments of Meghalaya’ here on Friday, organised by the Department of Arts and Culture.
Stating that it is encouraging to see that the youth are being employed by way of crafting of various traditional musical instruments like drums and varieties of flute, the Padmashree awardee stated that this is important since besides providing a platform to preserve the traditional music, the young minds also need a permanent income for their survival.
Giri also observed that it is encouraging to see that a number of music institutes have started to increase across the State.
“Many of the colleges and universities presently are providing post graduate and certification courses on traditional Khasi music. This kind of opportunities were not there few years back,” she said while adding that besides NEHU and MLCU, there are many colleges like Sankardev and Lady Keane which are offering certification course in music.
Meanwhile, renowned traditional musician from Shangpung, Jaintia Hills Heibormi Sugnoh has expressed his concern that there are only few people who can play the traditional drums in Jaintia Hills.
“In fact, there is only one person in the whole of Jaintia Hills who is able to play the traditional drums in a proper manner. This is a serious issue which needs to be addressed by all concerned,” Sungoh, who attended the workshop as a resource person, said.
He informed that he has attempted to take a small step towards preserving the notations of the different traditional drum beats which are being played in the various festivals in Jaintia Hills with a small publication under his name titled Ka Phang Tyngkrum (Hynniewtrep Traditional Drum Notations).
“I am hopeful that this small contribution would be of great help to the future generations who are unaware about this different drum beats,” Sungoh added.
Earlier, Deputy Chief Minister in charge of Art and Culture, BM Lanong, expressed concern over the rampant felling of trees in various forest areas across the State.
“We are losing a huge number of precious trees which would be good for crafting of musical instruments. We need to take some serious steps to prevent this rampant felling of trees to help in getting the best of wood for any particular instrument,” Lanong said.
“Personally, I am really impressed with the traditional drummers of Manipur. It always gives me pleasure to watch them perform. I strongly feel that the local traditional young musician should learn the skills of these talented musicians from Manipur,” the Deputy Chief Minister said. He also said that the local traditional young musician should develop something which is bigger than Tonic Sol-fa.
“We are all aware how Tonic Sol-fa has helped musicians across the globe to improvise their skills,” Lanong added.