Mookhuri brings folk music of Khasi-Jaintia hills, makes Delhi sway to it

New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) From a state that has produced Lou Majaw and the Shillong Chamber Choir, Mookhuri may not yet be as famous, but the four-member band that is seeking to revive Meghalaya’s traditional instruments definitely has the talent to join their league.

The band was in the Capital, playing at a Village Square event in the Sunder Nursery, and its lead singer, Amabel Susngi, shared with IANS her ambition to be on Coke Studio, saying she believes that people need to hear their music and know that groups such as Mookhuri also exist.

Mookhuri’s music is rooted in Khasi-Jaintia traditions. It’s a mellifluous medley of Amabel’s vocals and enchanting ‘manjira’, Johny Melborn Syih on the four-string ‘duitara’, and Hamieh Phawa and Deimonlangki M. Kharbuki creating magic on the percussion instruments ‘kabom’ and ‘ksing shynrang’, respectively.

Talking about the band’s journey, Amabel said: “I started this band in 2014. And ever since we started, we have been singing folk music all around Meghalaya.”

It is this commitment to folk music that has stopped Mookhuri from nursing Bollywood dreams. Amabel said the band has never been to a Bollywood audition, but it does have its sights set on Coke Studio.

“We came up with the name Mookhuri after delving deep into the culture, traditions and musical practice of Meghalaya,” Amabel continued, adding: “The name Mookhuri suits our band very well.”

It is the name given to the three-stone cooking stove in Meghalaya’s kitchens, reflecting the band’s belief that Khasi tribal music begins in the hearth.

“We are trying to revive folk music in the Khasi community as well. Five or ten years ago, Khasi traditional music did not get the importance it deserves. But now, people are taking folk and traditional music as their career as well,” Amabel said.

The band’s music exudes the warmth of the hearth and the cultural cadences of the Khasi-Jaintia community. And the instruments they play, despite being rooted in a specific milieu, are universal in their appeal.

“We stick to the traditional instruments only because there is beauty and simplicity in playing them,” Amabel said. “We don’t use any other western instruments.”

Striking a personal note, Amabel said she got her inspiration from her parents and grandmother.

“They are all music lovers. My grandmother used to sing folk songs to me and lullabies to get me to sleep when I was a kid,” Amabel remembers. “Even my parents encouraged to help me take up music as a career.”

Amabel and her band are on a mission to take the music of the Khasi-Jaintia hills all across the country so that people learn to appreciate it a little more and their traditional instruments get a life of their own.



Back to top button