Meghalaya’s Maxter Warjri – Celebrating 35 years of music- By Mayborn Lyngdoh R



The evening was misty just likeany other day in December. Twilight was all about the city, the streets wereempty and everyone could probably be found sitting around one of theirfavourite traditional 'Shawla' and might possibly be talking about life. It'sone of everyone's favourite season. There was nothing special about that Sundayexcept for the host who was kind enough to invite me for a cup of tea which Imust say was a sweet temporal escape from the cryptic cold weather. Indiscussing music and art as an evolving force, Maxster Warjri reminisces hisbirth into music.

"It all started when I was a kid. In those days having a guitar means you're something else. It was like a kind of the status of a real musician. It was a big deal! I can remember holding the 'Diengthlieh' (split-wood) or the 'Lyngknot' (Midget wooden stool) pretending to be one of the greats of the early '70s. My uncle owned a guitar. Uncle (Fairlyn Star Saio) was the then singer-guitarist of the Fenstones. There was this mad craze whenever I see a guitar. It was initially a one-sided love affair, the strings would often be left broken and not ironically that will often be followed by a lot of spanking. The guitar would most of the time be hidden. But my love for music only grew; I knew every song played on the L.P. records by heart".

1984 could be termed as the genesis of the musical road, he along with (L) Manfulson Lyngdoh (Bah Hep) and (L) Cleverson R. Lyngdoh (Bah Nah), who had then mentored him, sang at a Gospel Concert in State Central Library. Mark Star Warjri was then just a boy of nine or ten while Bah Hep with his guitar was just five and the two little boys melted a sea of spectators with their honesty in innocence. Impressed by the gutsy heartfelt performance of the boys, someone from the audience took noticed and they were asked to do a performance at the State Central Library. "Back in the days, it was huge!" Mark Star was unofficially christened Maxter by a host in one of the first legit concerts that he did. From then on Maxster was the name that would be synonymous with this talented chap from Riatsamthiah with dreams as tall as Everest.

For a decade or so Maxter, aspeople would lovingly call him, ventured the different parts of the Northeastand other neighbouring states as a solo artist. He had also then recorded analbum, but due to some complications, the album was not able to see the lightof day.

India was then growing as a pettyempire in rock and pop music. The Great Indian festival (GIR) is one of themost popular festivals. The year 2000, was a millennium and the festivalinvited all the bands across the country for auditions and Voices was the onlyband from the Northeast to be selected. The winner would be selected to openfor an Aerosmith Concert in America. BombayBlack was selected. The band promoted its own Indian music by fusing itwith the western. The Voices came back home with new aspirations and inspirations.Bathed in a musical epiphany, Ronnie with the only two band mates left, feltthe need to go back to the roots and fill the hollowed void in the band.

Ronnie Khonglam and Maxster metone evening and decided to fuse their styles. They started with a completelynew band name – Na Rympei (2002),also known as Voices Na Rympei along with Shankerlang Blah and JohnRobert Rynjah and recorded songs that were timelessly unflinching. Na La Rympei (written By Maxter) becamea recurring cultural sports anthem. It beckoned the contemporary generation toreturn home, back to the roots and sprout melodies from the rich springs of "ULongshuwa Manshuwa" and merge with the modern tunes of today.

In the meantime, as the aromaticscent of fine red tea fills the room, Maxster takes us deep into theunfathomable realms of music – Genre. Art defines a man and the genre of musicmoulds the artist. Art is honest. It treats you the way you treat it. A completeartist understands his wife (genre) well. When he does that, the marriage ishealthy and fruitful.

"There was this one eerie night,when I was suddenly awakened to the tunes of a particular song in my head. Itook up my guitarand started playing. The dogs were howling instantaneously. The life of a humanbeing is often clouded by a mist of uncertainty. We have our glorious days;while sometimes overwhelmed by our darkest demons. All living creatures dependon the sun for regeneration either literally or metaphorically. On the midnightof 2003, I felt they too could not stand the dead of the night. They arehowling because they felt the need of company. No living creature can live inisolation and thus, Synnia mellowedinto words".

Music has always been looked upon as a healing balm and musicians are endowed with the ability to heal. Before healing anyone else it heals the singer. Music helps in transforming everything that we see around.  The way we dress, speak, communicate, our lifestyle and the person we become is either directly or indirectly influenced by music.

His journey so far has met –

Magic of Christmas with various artists, produced by the Gideons Creation (2004).

Albums – Na rympei was an instant hit with eleven songs (2005).

Singles – A musical rendition of Ko Ri baieid by Rana Kharkongor (2010)

He has also co-written and sang Terra madre (A Nesfas project), 2015 with various artists and Sha ka lympung (Monolith theme song) co-written and sung by Maxter Warjri, Nicholas Dunn

Por ba la leit by (L) Loren Marbaniang previously sung by H. Ryntathang (2017)

Maia ka Por KSU production written by (l) Amiyo Lyngskor (2017).

After thirteen long years, Na Rympei finally records New Day. New Day was written and produced by Maxter Warjri. It is more of a self-reflection and contemplating epiphany. As a man, Max was a religious Christian, but never a devoted Christian. However, the God that gave through music's truest tongue revealed the grace of God and beckoned the prodigal son. Maxter returned to those protective arms. "We live each day by the grace of God. Every day you wake up, it's a blessing. You are where you are because God wants you to be there. Your journey begins and ends with Him". Listening to him share his journey was quite insightful for a young lad like myself. A couple of hours had passed. It was getting late. I am not a musician, but every little detail of the conversation was inspirational. I guess that is what music do to you. It has a language that even the deaf and the mute can understand. It cleanses you from within. For a brief moment, I was drown in a kind of daydream, imagining a world filled with fine music and lyrical poetry.

"I feel what music has done to me is so much more than what I have done for music". He says that music has transformed him to the man that he is today – a proud father to a beautiful daughter, a loving husband, and a gifted musician who truly understands the value of the gift that he has been bestowed upon. In the end, he sigh, looked at me puzzled, I was expecting some veteran advice and tried to sit straight. He only said, "Your tea is getting cold".