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E-Pao! Rock Concert - Down but not out

Down but not out

By:- Prajit Khwairakpam *



Music is one of the inevitable assets/ things in the human society.

No doubt, everybody loves/ likes music art etc. The trend of music in Manipur keeps changing from time to time. Rock music is one which struck/ hit in the late seventies and early eighties for the first time in the region.

Many young chaps were greatly influenced by this kind of music and were involved in organising and forming local concerts and their own group bands. This music motivated many young pe-ople and gave a company when they were frustrated.

We, the Manipuris, have our own kind of folk music but nevertheless its OK imitating western music, cultures, education, lifestyle etc if it is a good thing. The only thing we opposed is their colonial rule.

Whether it is western or eastern, southern or northern truth triumph over evil. With the advent of rock music, many great artists in Manipur came into the scene and exposed their talents and the responses were positive.

Great bands like

  • Runaway track,
  • Cannibals,
  • Phoenix,
  • Ultravires,
  • Hill Angels,
  • The REX,
  • Drixtian Umpire (former Dark Crusaders),
  • Lapps,
  • Post-Mark,
  • Dizzy,
  • Kilroy,
  • Metal Teens
can be with no exaggeration counted with respect and they are the pioneers in this kind of music.

I was greatly influenced when I saw Lien Gangte screaming like hell in high pitched in Kolkata at the Great Indian Rock Concert with the numbers like "Night Crawler 'Rock N Roll. No words could express my delight and pride in front of many Indian Rock fans.

Most of the bands in Manipur had performed in most part of India and participated in many of the biggest competitions like IIT's Bits Pilani, North East's GIGS etc. They also won many individual awards. They were highly appreciated.

They inspired many Indians fans, and many wanted to work with them. With this kind of stuff they had started composing their own originals too. Despite all these talents they could hardly wear feather's in one's cap professionally.

The main problem is nothing but lack of sponsors, advertisers, refined and expose it outside the State. Instead they throw mud on them, throw cold water on them.

Another problem is we have few people who listen to this kind of music and no market to sort out the deal.

The present scenario of Rock music in Manipur is pathetic, where are those black T-shirts sporting terrific inscription and bone and skeleton? Where are those banners and posters showing head bangings and metal freak signs which were put at the GM Hall, Yaiskul's Range, Thau Bonanza.

Unfortunately some artists have already started switching to Hindustani music in which the taste is totally black and white. I don't mean Manipuri songs are inferior but the former spirit seems to be fading away.

It's really a pity for those who had made up their minds for some feel themselves of the first water without much qualifications. The majority of the people in this State live from hand to mouth on account of extremely low income.

It seems to be happening only in our Kangleipak. What would you feel when a beggar becomes a famous artist? The city people treat differently to a persons who comes from 20- 30 km away from Imphal whether he or she may be an actor or an actress.

You might appreciate them but in your own heart you would definitely ridicule or mock him or feel even a pinch of jealous. In Manipuri terms 'Lawai Machani'.

Now the digital world has come to Manipur.

Since the ban on Hindi films, mushrooming of Manipuri masala digital films have sprung up ceaselessly. And to me, it is a bolt from the blue that the majority of the people in our State watch this with great enthusiasm.

The stories are based on the same old fashioned genre. For instance a love triangle Hindi film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai will now be replaced by some Manipuri digital films. And the songs which enthralled many innocent people are copied from Nepali and South Indian films.

It's an example of Indianisation. But all these hypes come up because of the media and many local's cable network running through out the city.

The American glam rock band Guns 'n Roses was known and popular sometime back. That was because music channel MTV promoted the band and gave lot of contributions.

But now it is no more. How long the commercial masala films can go on like this in the local media hype? Why don't we emulate Aribam Shyam Sharma, a great Manipuri feature film maker who has won many renowned awards? Why don't we get the inspiration of Ratan Thiyam who opens his theatrical ideas to the world.

Why can't the commercial film makers go for international competition instead of localising their products?
Do I have to say that may daughter is Aishwarya Rai just because she acts and dances like her?

It seems we are living in a fools paradise. In Manipuri terms 'Yumda Chaoba Yumjao Mangol da Chaoba Mangoljao'. What is there to be happy at the present juncture?

When man, women of our country had sacrificed for the future generation.

When an Iron lady Sharmila is dying due to her protest hunger strike for the cause of the people while thousands of civilians and innocent people were butchered and tortured.

Lastly but not the least lets keep striving to do something good and constructive for our country. Let's keep rocking in the free world for peace and tranquillity and for the cause of the people.

The annual International Rock Band's concert in Shillong has revived the spirit of Head bangings and Metal freak wilderness. First the PETRA (Gospel Rock), Fire House, Michael Learns to Rock, Air Supply and now Iron-Maiden.

Thanks to the sponsors and the organising committee. Let such concerts be organised at Imphal also. Rock music is down but not out in Manipur.

I hope all the rock lovers of Manipur feel the same.


* Prajit Khwairakpam wrote this article for The Sangai Express . This article was webcasted on January 14th, 2007


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