The magic music can do to our lives !

Khelsoril Wanbe *

A rock concert during OUGRI 2015 festival at NIT, Manipur on 29 March 2015
A rock concert during OUGRI 2015 festival at NIT, Manipur on 29 March 2015 :: Pix - Gnet

It is quite difficult to describe the magic music can wrought to its listeners. Music can make people laugh, excited, sad, happy, joyful, etc. The world without music would imaginably be boring. One amazing thing about music is its variety. There are so many kinds of music that what is music for one person may be noise for another.

However, one thing is undeniable; every variety of music has power of its own kind. Itís worth wondering if there are people who do not, at all, like music of any kind! What could such people be like- cold, lonely or dangerous! Personally, music has played a big role in my life which may be either positive or negative or even a mixture of both. Yes, the effect/impact of music on its listener, I feel, is a subject worth some serious discussions and pondering.

My musical foray/voyage began even before my teen years in the early eighties of the previous century. I remember those days when a cousin of mine would play Hindi, Manipuri and English songs on a record player. A few years later, another cousin introduced me to a headphone. On the headphone, I began to listen to pop, reggae, country and rock music.

My cousin explained to me the joy of listening to stereo music and I began to be obsessed with the desire to own one. For few more years, I had to be patient before I finally got my first stereo music player. Exciting days of music had begun, supplemented by my procuring of a second-hand guitar through a friend of mine. I was only Class-IX when this childhood friend began to inspire me with his musical talent by singing mainly country songs of Dan Seal, Smokie, Rainbow etc in the accompaniment of guitar played by himself.

It took me some time before I learnt to play the major keys. I was so fascinated with great guitar sounds of both country and rock, so I tried to mimic some classic sounds of Deep Purple, CCR, Led Zeppelin, Smokie, Iron Maiden, Beatles etc. First, I began with the rhythm sounds, and then tried some lead guitar sounds of legendary guitarists. However, I have, here, to admit that my involvement with music, at that stage, was more to do with listening than playing. The funny or amazing thing about my and my friendís love of music is that quite often we would listen to our favourite songs for hours non-stop.

The loud music we played would invite even some drunken guys loitering on the road to come up and dance heartily on the porch. They danced to the tunes of songs like Suzi Q, Cotton Field, Come Together, Get Back, Smoke on the Water etc. And yeah, my friends and I would also exhibit whatever we could by doing covers of classic songs on the roadside and in front of gatherings whenever we got the chance. We would do Wasted Years, The Troopers, Rhyme of Ancient Mariner, Paranoid, Smoke on the Water, Wasted Sunset, Before the Dawn and many more. However, my adolescent aspiration to pursue music as a career never got fulfilled.

Some great musical experiences include attending concerts where the highly talented national and state musicians performed more covers and less originals. From the later parts of the 1980s to the middle of the nineties, I used to attend concerts held at Yaiskul ground, THAU ground, GM Hall, BOAT etc. Witnessing electrifying performances of our local musical talents were quite unforgettable. One amazing thing about those musical concerts is the air of infectious bonhomie that was spread all around, although, admittedly, sometimes, some minor scuffles did take place due to over excitement, but overall peaceful.

The guitarists would run to and fro and all around, they would pull and shake their long hair. Oh, the excitement would almost touch the sky. The musicians including the vocalists, the guitarists, the drummer would unleash like flood all their pent-up and smouldering talents. Devotion, dedication, determination, diligence, perseverance etc are perhaps some of the essential qualities that are possessed by those flamboyant musicians- rock musicians, to be precise.

I had the privilege of witnessing the gigs of Manipuri bands like Cannibals, Phoenix, Power Pack on several occasions. Other bands whose fame struck my ears include Post Mark, Drixian Empire, Sudden Friends etc. Incidentally, I had the rare privilege of listening to some songs of Post Mark that included, Soar High. Sweet Reggae of the Cannibals and Woman of Phoenix are unforgettable. Although the memories are fading, some impressions left by such concert attendance still blurrily linger on.

I can still admiringly remember the ease, knack and dexterity with which some of our local musicians handled their musical instruments on stage. Our vocalists, guitarists, and drummers are so amazingly talented that, I feel, they are presentable at any national and international music events and carnivals. Their enthralling and electrifying performances never failed to attract hordes of youth to the concert venues, inspiring many to follow their footsteps, afterwards.

The crowds would sway and enjoy the time of their life. Life without entertainment must be quite boring and music is an essential form of entertainment. As part of our musical interests or, should I say, pursuit, my childhood friend and me had the haunting experience of visiting late brother Paul Gangmei of the Cannibals when he was staying at Langol Housing Complex. He was amazingly cordial and simple. When we requested him to sing some songs for us, he merrily and cheerfully agreed to sing for us few songs that, as far as my memory lets me remember, included The Wall of Pink Floyd and Nothing Else Matter by Metallica.

I have, here, dwelt a bit on my experience with rock music; I would now like to say something about other forms of music that have made some impact on my life and outlook. As mentioned above, music of different varieties exert different influences on the listeners. There are gentle and soft varieties of music like country, sentimental and gospel/devotional that inspire feelings and thoughts of love, forgiveness, kindness and meditation.

Among western country singers, the haunting songs of Dan Seal, Don William, Kenny Rogers, Ricky Skaggs will live on. Their songs of romance, heartbreak, gratitude, country life add mellowing effects to the vast world of music filled with loud noises and melodious cacophony. Some gospel music that really brought joy and peace include songs by Jim Reeves, Gaither Vocal Band, Petra, George Younce, George Jones etc.

Amidst and amongst these plethora of western music were blended the songs of vernacular musical celebrities like Tapta, Uttam, Sorri Senjam etc. There are, of course, many other locally very popular singers, but as far as my eclectic musical collections are concerned these few mentioned local musicians tower quite tall amongst the many and my foray into our local music world continues with the help of ISTV. I would even like to write in greater details about the impact of the ever increasing songs of our land both of the hills and the plains.

Once, I was playing some mellow songs of Don Williams when an elderly man paid my home a visit. The man was so enchanted by the melodious songs of Don William that, after some time, he enquired if the songs being played were gospel songs. He suggested translating them into our local dialect. That was the magic of music.

Music, even without understanding its lyrics, seems to affect the heart and mind or, should we say, the soul in the way it is made. Some experts have cautioned that music can also inspire negative behaviour.

There are also allegations that some forms of music are demonic. It is scary to think of this. Indeed, music is so powerful that we probably careful about the kind of music we listen. We can also ask the question as to whether we should avoid music that might promote bad negative feelings in our hearts, minds, and soul. Well, it is up to you, me, him, her, they, them- what kind of music we love or choose to listen.

* Khelsoril Wanbe wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on April 09, 2015.

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