Rendezvous with Konthoujam Bobin Singh: Art for Art's sake

Khuman *

 Konthoujam Bobin Singh
Courtsey:- Konthoujam Bobin Singh

Manipur is such an amazing state in India. The people of the state are very talented in every field. The world knows that Manipur is excellent in the field of sports. Apart from the said field, we are also brilliant in the fields of music, art, culture, etc. I am presenting an interview with Konthoujam Bobin Singh.

Konthoujam Bobin Singh is one of the well-known artists in the field of music from Kwakeithel Akham Leikai. He is not only outstanding in the career of music but also contributes in various ways to the growth and development of society.

Recently, he released his new song titled "Tan Yenba Yong". This song is based on the current crisis in the state. The song was composed by R.K. Birendrajit, and he himself is the lyricist.

He asked himself many questions on the current crisis, like "Who started the violence?"; "Whom to blame?"; "Who are our enemies?"; "Which direction are we going?" and "When will this violence be over?" With all these questions, he presented his own lyrics song "Tan Yenba Yong".

First of all, brother Bobin, thanks a lot for sharing your time with us. This will be a nice session for all of us. Please scroll down and read more about him.

 Konthoujam Bobin Singh
Courtsey:- Konthoujam Bobin Singh

E-pao: Please help us to understand more about you.
Bobin: Very interesting. I got a very wonderful chance to introduce myself. The public only sees me on stage most of the time, but I have so many things that most people don't notice about me. I love both sports and music. I have developed my career in both fields as per my potential. I started playing cricket at an early age and then stepped into the field of music. Mostly, I sing based on social issues.

E-pao: As you mentioned, you love cricket too. Please highlight this.
Bobin: This is one of my careers that people don't know much about. I am quite happy to share the details of this. I played for 25 years as a senior player in domestic cricket as a member of Tiddim Road Athletic Union (TRAU). I have also represented the Manipur Cricket Team in the Ranji Trophy in 2018 in Kolkata.

I am the record holder till date of the highest wicket taker in a T-20 match in Manipur in a single match - 8 wickets in 4 overs with a hat-trick in the session 2017-2018. I also served in the role of Joint Secretary of TRAU from 2016 to 2019.

And I also took on the responsibility of joint secretary of the Manipur Cricket Association for 20192022. I have a dream to train an international player under my guidance. I never skipped the opportunity when times came for cricket, even though I was very busy with my music work.

E-pao: It is very impressive to know all these details. Now, let's talk about how you step into the music career.
Bobin: I started my journey in music when I was studying in Class VIII. I started with Western music, which I love a lot (he smiled). I was working in Western music bands at that time, namely Slave and Master, Fortune Hunter, and Born Free. I was the lead vocalist. I would also like to mention here how I started performing on stage at Manipur Matam Eshei. I started performing on stage as a singer since 1998.

I would also like to give humble respect to some of my Ojas and supporters, namely Oja Naorem Jiten (Adi Guru for my Voice Culture Training); Phurailatpam Iboyaima (Oja, who gave me a lot of fruitful advice in the field of music and English literature); Oja Doren; Brother Nameirakpam Sarat (who is from my own Leikai and has supported and trained me a lot in music since my school days); R.K. Jiten; and Maibam Purnananda.

 Konthoujam Bobin Singh
Courtsey:- Konthoujam Bobin Singh

With their support and guidance today, I am standing and serving the audience. In the beginning of my journey, a few recording studios were there at that time, like Ronika Studio (producer of my first solo album, Pharage Nang), Bindiya Recording, etc. I also remember that Yoo Nang Keidou Leiramli was the second production and the best seller at that time. Mostly, I sing based on social issues and my own lyrics.

Some of the selected songs based on social issues are Yoo Nang Keidou Leiramli, Paisa Kouba Lai, Khurumjariye, Thikadar, San Change Ne, Eigi Engkhol Da, Mitopna Vote, Yadaba Leite Yai (based on anti-corruption), Salai Taret Ki Pheeral (based on our religion), and Mapa Leitraba Angangse.

The main reason why I didn't frequently sing the song lyrics by other writers is because I respect all the writers lyrics, but I have a feeling that if I didn't give the feeling of the song as expected by the writer, that would be not good, and this is a sign of giving respect to the writer as well as the lyrics.

E-pao: What's your ideology for singing songs based on social issues?
Bobin: Songs are not only for fun and entertainment. I think it is a kind of message that will create awareness among people. The ideology is that I want to take a path that is not already taken by others. I do also believe in LIFE AFTER DEATH one must show that one should do something that will be remembered even after death.

My songs, like Yadaba Leitey Yai Selbu, Piradi Yai, Bimola Bimola, and Sendoi Chabi Bimola are quite popular, and that reflects what exactly is going on in society. In our society, we have many social issues, like discrimination against HIV positive persons and crime against women and children. To motivate them and raise awareness among the people, I love to write and sing songs based on such issues.

These kinds of songs might help people learn about the chaos and confusion that are happening to the general public. Oja Shantikumar of DM College of Arts, Sir Ph. Iboyaima of G.P. Women's College, and the writings and novels of GC Tongbra are the catalysts who force me to take up social issues through the voice of music. And all these things don't mean that I don't love singing romantic songs (he smiled).

E-pao: How would you change your performance if you were performing for children rather than adults?
Bobin: I can say this is the best question and very important to understand while performing. Yes, we go to sing at different occasions and celebrations. The main point is that, as an artist, it is important to understand the audience or crowd.

For example, when I invite children home, I choose this kind of song to motivate and encourage them. I always made up my mind and prepared myself to sing relevant to the place, occasion, and crowd.

 Konthoujam Bobin Singh
Courtsey:- Konthoujam Bobin Singh

E-pao: What is the most challenging experience in your career?
Bobin: If I say every path we take is full of challenges, Instead of expressing my grievances, I would like to mention that it would be good if society raised the value of an artist's work. Sometimes we feel that we are valued only when we are on stage.

And, also, it would be better if people respect art as a PROFESSION like other professions. "RESPECT ONE'S PROFESSION" is what I wanted in this career. In the present day, I think that most people feel that singing is just for entertainment, which degrades the value of artists.

E-pao: We would also like to know the coordination between a musician and a singer while performing on stage.
Bobin: This is the best question for today's interview, I can say (he smiled). Yes, when we do anything in a team, we need communication and coordination. A musician, a sound system engineer, and a good sound engineer play an important role in our career. They are adding an extra-ordinary melody to my naked vocal.

The relationship between a musician and an artist is just like two heads of a single coin. Since the beginning of my journey in this career, I have seen a lot of changes in recording studios and on stage performances too.

To be relevant, we need to upgrade with the latest technology for both musicians and artists. For an outstanding live performance, everything depends on how we coordinate with the musician and vice versa. We need to adjust and upgrade according to the changes in the generation.

E-pao: Please highlight your achievements.
o In 2001-2002, 1st Position in National Western Vocal Solo in Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, Jarkhand
o In 2002-2003, 1st Position in National Western Vocal Solo at Kalyani University, Kolkata
o Emerging Singer of the Year 2011, CIIL Mysore, Ministry of HRD Development of Higher Education, Government of India
o In the year 2018, Nongin Best Singer Award of Manipur
o Best Singer Award on Social Issue 2022 by Manipur State Commission for the Schedule Tribes, Government of Manipur, and UNESCO Club, Manipur
o Recipient of the "Mahatma Gandhi International Peace Award 2022," organized by the All India Congress Social Organization, New Delhi

I have also received a Certificate of Appreciation for the "Campaign of Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyan" as a Star Campaigner organized by the Department of Social Welfare, Government of Manipur, in the presence of Hon'ble Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, Hon'ble Health Minister S. Ranjan Singh, and Social Welfare Minister H. Dingo Singh.

I love to mention that I have also organized a show called "Eikhoigi Eral Karino" at B.O.A.T., especially dedicated to HIV-positive children. I have never seen such a crowd in my life. I think this is also one of my biggest achievements and my contribution to HIV-positive people.

E-pao: Your message to the young fellow in society
Bobin: Honestly, I don't have much to say to my young fellows in society, as we know all what is good and bad. But, for any profession, discipline is very important to success. For an artist who loves singing, voice culture discipline is a must. Practice as much as you can from low to high pitch and high to low pitch.

It is mandatory to measure our voice pitch and prepare a practice chart. This is relevant to our day-to-day saying "Thak-Kha". And another discipline is our behavior. I can say that if you have good discipline and patience, you'll succeed in every profession.

E-pao: What are your future plans?
Bobin: I have some clear-cut plans that I would like to fulfil at my level best. I am taking responsibility of Secretary General of "Atinga" (An Institute of Performing and Arts & Cultural Identity). Under this institute, I would like to train more artists to preserve our unique oral folks and endangered art forms, as these are not available in any part of the world, and I also want to bring up this institute as a successful cultural school.

And another one is that I am not going away from my sports career. I will promote and train individuals who love cricket. Under my guidance, I will try to produce international cricketers.

E-pao: Thank you so much for your time. Best of luck in your future endeavors.
Bobin: It was my pleasure, and thanks a lot for coming.

 Konthoujam Bobin Singh
Courtsey:- Konthoujam Bobin Singh

* Khuman conducted this interview for
This article was webcasted on October 21 2023.

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