Meet Notes of A'rongga: Garo folkfusion bandfrom Meghalaya with a purpose to revive dying culture

With the ever growing evolution and development, things are changing fast with a lot of traditional ethnicity and culture depleting. A slow death of traditions, costumes to ornaments, food and most importantly the language. This reason giving a purpose for young boys to combine their interest in music and also serve a purpose to retrieve the dying culture, tribe and essence in the form of a Folk-fusion band. Being the only folk-fusion band from Garo hills, Meghalaya.

The band called Notes of A’rongga literally translates to Notes or Tunes of Hill people. Combining Garo indigenous music with elements of rock, blues and some other genres. Incorporating traditional Garo instruments like Chigring (bamboo string device), Dama (Long drum), chapcheng (Cymbals), Dugang (Wind instrument which is long bamboo with another small bamboo within it, blown as a bugle which sounds like a women’s cry) with a drum kit, acoustic and bass guitars.
It may be noted that the Garo tribe has 101 gong types, each different in sound. However, just 20-30 gongs still prevalent in this era.

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The band includes,
Tengnang Dawa Sangma – Vocalist
Chukambe Ch. Marak- Bassist
Jingo N.Sangma – Guitar
Bizer Momin – Drums
Prokan R. Marak – Dama

Just six months old with no intentions of forming the band earlier, it all began with a performance at an impromptu gig at Delhi in November, 2015. They sang in the Garo language which is a principal they follow by to sing in their mother tongue language to stay rooted to their tribe. With no comprehension of the language to the audience, that never seemed an issue, for in the music language and world all seemed to have grooved to their music which resulted in gigs after gigs in the capital city, Delhi.

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With several gigs played here and there, they have traveled to different places to get their jam going. Performing at events like Terra Madre 2016 then to Jaipur under the state Arts & Culture department  banner. Also participating in a Thunder March unplugged Indie competition at Silchar winning the event held for 2016. They also performed for the last South Asian games held in Shillong/ Guwahati 2016 and at The Indian festival in Myanmar of rock music held at Myanmar, representing Northeast India and the country. For the near future there are possibilities of the band to travel for another South-Asian trip soon this year or after for another gig to play at. Meanwhile they still perform at different events held.

With an ambition to keep the culture alive, they narrate stories through what they are best at – Tunes and melodies. They stated how important this is for them as they know that this generation of Garo people will be the last to see some form of rooted traditional culture if not preserved by language or practice.

– Nocy Rangsa Marak

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