The sky is the SIYOM (womb) of the stars

Ningombam Captain *



Artist: SIYOM Ensemble
Genre: Alternative/Folk
Length: 5 mins 2 secs
Release date: April 6, 2019
Rating: 3 out of 5

Thawanmichak se ngallare naitom
Ningthira ahing, malang epom
Chingsilli pukning se khalluda naphamda
Ingla nangi mitpham honda mityengna
Nungsira esheina chiklaba ahingi tantha hukhibagum

Ahing amagi tellaba matam
Sanglaba eigi punshigi khongchat
Ngalhalle mitkup se nahaki mitki manina
Yeirare mangal machet ama eigi thamoida
Nungsira leinamna leeri humba malangbada lupkhibagum

SIYOM Ensemble is not a typical rock band. It is an inspirational space with ties to a myriad of art forms. Experimental dance, for instance, is one of the many expressions that the Ensemble indulges in. We haven't seen the reality enough, so let's stick to the cliché of metaphors found in everyday life. Let's put the existence and working of the SIYOM Ensemble in the form of milk; their music is just the cheese, you see. They've got a lot to offer, like curd, butter, and yogurt. And we haven't seen them all yet.

SIYOM (translates to "womb") happens to be the brainchild of Chaoba Thiyam, singer-songwriter of the Ensemble who made a mark in the Manipuri indie music scene with the brilliant single, "Kayada Ningthijaba Lambino". If you don't know this "Swiss Army Man", I'd like to introduce him as a professional pena player (I don't like the correctness of this term. We need to coin a derivative for this unique instrument, how about, a "Penaist"?), contemporary dancer, meditator, and a filmmaker.

He also prefers the ukulele over the guitar as his weapon of choice in the studio. He frequently teams up with musicians from other bands and makes this Ensemble function like an occasional supergroup. The guitarist Ton Arambam is from Noong-Pan, the keyboardist Jimbo Ningombam is from the Jimbo Trio, and Karnajit Laishram is from The Imphal Talkies and the Howlers. It is unclear whether the members involved in a project perform together just out of mere happenstance or will stick around for further ventures. But from the name "Ensemble", let's settle it for the latter.

When it comes to the song "Thawanmichak" (translates to "stars"), I prefer the old recording more. It was uploaded as a 2:05 mins long track on Chaoba Thiyam's SoundCloud account, supposed to be a demo version, more than one year before this new release. Despite being lengthen to double its original length, the early version is not premature at all. It was more raw and authentic.

The instrumentation of this new release still manages to showcase the authenticity in the ability to strike similar notes again. However, the in-depth listener loses the sense of a natural touch of minimalism like, the accidental beauty of slightly buzzed strings and the vocal ambience of a reverberating room. Let us not call this new recording overproduced, because I believe, the spirit still sticks to a minimalist ideal nevertheless. The song is recorded and mastered by Sunil Loitongbam at the HAYUM LAB.

The song, classified as alternative folk, still features instruments similar to that of "Kayada Ningthijaba Lambino". But this time, the prominent thump of the Wapung (an indigenous percussion) and a stalking bassline heighten the intensity of the song. A collective sound of nocturnal insects, like crickets and locusts, opens the song, and is laden throughout.

This outdoor ambience, heard during the nighttime in a typical Manipuri suburban environment, is interwoven perfectly with the stream of instruments. Even without the lyrics, one can't be mistaken on assuming that the song is about stargazing, or at least, something about the night, not darkness, but the night. The duet of the ukulele and the nylon guitar is enchanting. The former provides the superficial melody and latter, a resonating profundity. Moreover, the tempo is slow and relaxing to the ear.

The song shows us that art is nothing but the imitation of nature. Humans incorporate nature in every aspects of making art: be it dancing, like a flower swaying in the sun; painting, with the hues capturing the natural likeness of things; playing instruments, with imitated sounds heard from the forest; writing, while describing everything seen in nature through words. Here, the relatively higher pitch of the ukulele represents the tangerine leaves, that once were green, floating on a stream; the nylon guitar and the bass, the stream itself.

The song paints a picturesque landscape with the background ambience as the nightfall, the ukulele-guitar duet as the stream, the thumping Wapung as the rhythmic breathing of the soulful stargazer, the flute as the night breeze carrying the silent stories of woes, happiness, and solitude in human perspiration entering through the ear of the stargazer, and lastly, to his mind. Every work of art that SIYOM creates can be translated on a spiritual level. And no, I didn't listen to Alan Watts recently. This is just what the song makes me feel within.

The lyrics is only two stanzas, devoid of a particular chorus. The syllable scheme is maintained like the structure of a heroic couplet used in English poems. The first lines of each two stanzas have 10 syllables each:


You see, there is a satirical poem called "An Epistle from Mr Pope, to Dr Arbuthnot" written by the English poet Alexander Pope, way back in 1735. Similar to SIYOM's song here, the lines of this poem also has 10 syllables each:

and so on...

I'm not trying to make any profound point by comparing the syllabification of these entirely different works. Also, I don't know if Chaoba Thiyam wrote "Thawanmichak" as a poem or simply as song lyrics with structured syllable to ease during his composition. But I prefer to study this as a poem for the effect of more solemnity that it will give out. The vocal delivery of this song also makes it seem like an elaborate poetry recital.

Do listen to this song on Bandcamp and YouTube. If you still haven't listened to their previous song "Kayada Ningthijaba Lambino", just give it a go! Satisfaction, guaranteed. As far as I know, SIYOM does not disappoint. And there's a small belief of mine: a songwriter who appreciates the stars in the clear night cannot just get inside, wrap around his shawl, and pick up the ukulele and make a bad song.

Ton Arambam - Nylon Guitar
Michael Ngangom - Langdren/Percussion
Jimbo Ningombam - Flute/Key
Karnajit Laishram - Bass
Chaoba Thiyam - Vocal, Ukulele

* Ningombam Captain wrote this article for
Ningombam Captain is the creator of Blue Bannerman Reviews. The writer is currently pursuing English Hons. in MS University and can be contacted at ningombamcaptain(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on April 14, 2019.

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • Meekap Thokpa Numit #2 : Gallery
  • Areinu, Chaohongba :: eMing
  • Cheirao-chingkaba [April 14] : Gallery
  • Governor's speech at Khongjom Day 2019
  • Gossiping :: Poem
  • Traditional warfare technique of NE native #2
  • Weak monsoon concern for farmers
  • Rag tag bunch of desperadoes
  • A thought on Khongjom Day
  • Khomlen Manglanda - A Play #1 : Gallery
  • Khongjom Numit: Commemoration
  • Licypriya Kangujam to address UN
  • Wu Cheng'en at Yuntai Mountain :: Review
  • Cleaning up Maram Bazar on Earth Day
  • Take action for mother earth
  • In between now and May 23
  • Challenges in Journalism
  • Shivaratri Shopping List #2 : Gallery
  • Pherzawl - a dying District! ?
  • Indo-Naga & other peace talks #2
  • Spotted Deer - Living with Natural Habitat
  • Northeast Fiesta at Jalandhar : Report
  • Environmental Sciences as career option
  • Serou: A microcosm of mosaic Manipur
  • 3 North East States to get DNA Testing
  • Protest against SC verdict on adultery
  • Mirabai misses bronze by a whisker
  • Post poll scenario in Manipur
  • Tributes to PLA killed #2 : Gallery
  • Romance of insurgency in 1970s #1
  • Earth Day 2019
  • Easter is a Day of Hope for all ...
  • Hide-and-seek in the Sky :: Poem
  • St Mary's Church: The 1st Anglican Church
  • Breaking the barrier
  • A talk with Ajit Ningthouja :: eRang
  • Realisation Day; Echoes the wake up call
  • Xavier Rutsa & Limatemsu Jamir
  • Revisiting Palm Sunday: Reflections..
  • Iceland - most safest & peaceful place
  • Easy fixes for summer hair problems
  • An evening of extreme shame !
  • Revisiting reality
  • LS : Voting for Inner : Gallery
  • Thang Ta @Sangai Festival #4: Gallery
  • The current status of Naga-Kuki relation #1
  • Traditional warfare technique of NE native #1
  • Cry Of A Dying River #72 :: Poem
  • Looking forward to May 23
  • Judgment day
  • Meekap Thokpa Numit #1 : Gallery
  • CC Meet Final: NEROCA Vs SU #2: Gallery
  • Floriculture : A booming industry in Mao
  • Positivity is the soul of life
  • Basic health competency by patients
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • 7th Woodpecker International Film Festival
  • Cracking the repoll whip in Outer
  • Dirty game is a threat to Democracy
  • Ibendhou Kounu Haraoba #2: Gallery
  • Indo-Naga & other peace talks #1
  • Civil Society Forum Manifesto for Election
  • Life and Me :: Poem
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Election jamboree & voters bonanza
  • Suspension Order for 7 MLAs : NPF
  • Chin Woman Dies after Tatmadaw Bomb
  • A reference to the party in power
  • An idea without fear
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba at Mysore #2: Gallery
  • Artillery Regiment in Battle of Imphal
  • Appraisal on LS election (Outer) #2
  • Minimum Income Guarantee is a promise
  • Northeast Fiesta 2019 at Jalandhar
  • Cyber Security - the need of the hour
  • Sunset Unplugged, Agartala: Event Report
  • Reality of casting vote in Outer PC
  • Real face of Indian election
  • Tributes to PLA killed #1 : Gallery
  • Khomlen Manglanda : Play synopsis
  • Download: Meetei Mayek Keyboard
  • Voting (PC) @ Kangpokpi #3: Gallery
  • Letter from a river most polluted
  • Truth commission in Manipur needed..
  • Vacancy at Makok Tech, Bishnupur
  • Cheirao Chingkaba #2 : Gallery
  • The sky is the SIYOM of the stars
  • An introspection of roots of AFSPA
  • A note on Cheiraoba ..
  • A well-known paradox :: Poem
  • The saga of EVMs
  • Festival of Democracy hypes
  • 14 girls sold to persons in Saudi Arabia
  • Took up boxing after watching Ali- Mary
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba at Mysore #1: Gallery
  • Mittong Khunou: The Battle Honour of INA
  • A Lifeline for the Assamese
  • Multiple posts at PiCaSoid, Imphal
  • NE Annual day of CNESPR , JMI
  • Essential summer travel tips
  • Discussion : Myanmar's Democratization
  • Violating election model code of conduct
  • Catapulting AFSPA in the limelight
  • Revisiting CAB issue
  • Voting (PC) @ Kangpokpi #2: Gallery
  • Voting (PC) @ Kangpokpi #1: Gallery
  • Bloody Phanek at Paris Film Festival
  • Homoeopathy, a revolutionary science
  • The goodness of good fate does not smile..
  • Outer Constituency has voted
  • Helpless indignation
  • CC Meet Final: NEROCA Vs SU #1: Gallery
  • Yengkhom Roma : Lifetime Award
  • Appraisal on Lok Sabha election (Outer) #1
  • Cyber Crimes - Crimes by finger tips
  • Research Support Officer @ Amethyst
  • Condemns militarization of NEHU Campus
  • Shadow of CAB on Lok Sabha elections
  • "CAB" Factor Faded
  • Thabal Chongba @Khurai : Gallery
  • Military Sociology: Present, Past & Future
  • Know your MP - Election 2019
  • Dirty Dancing :: Poem
  • Democracy needs time for good admin
  • Travel at U-Factor
  • Shadow of NSCN (IM) in Outer PC
  • The great escape
  • Arambai Exhibition Show : Gallery
  • View of Premier State College Senior Assn
  • Distant One :: Poem
  • The hysteria of a first time voter
  • Course in Folkloristics & Semiotics
  • NDPP is 'Entertainment Govt' : Zeliang
  • On issue of "Letters signed by Neiphiu Rio"
  • The visit of PM Modi
  • If BJP win, people of Manipur support CAB
  • Cheirao Chingkaba #1 : Gallery
  • sekeN heN :: Seireng
  • Yangnu Golmei : Sangeetbhusan 2018
  • Victimizing only the Women & Children
  • Lest The North-East Fall Asleep
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Driving a dangerous feat on Indian roads
  • Need to be democratic in a democracy
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #1 : Gallery
  • Selfie da track :: e-pao Radio
  • Demand for ILP :: Articles/Photos...
  • The legend of the Laiyyars : Election tale
  • Sports for peace & development
  • What is peace ?
  • Rongali : Celebration of Assam & NE
  • Manipuris celebrate New Year
  • Imphal security beefed for Modi's visit
  • Sajibu Nongma Panba Shopping: Gallery
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba: Ritual festival of Meiteis
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Meitei New Year Day
  • Stop War with Nature :: Artwork
  • Cry of a Dying River - 71 :: Poem
  • Pulmonary Valve Balloon dilatation
  • Supping with an ally of the foe
  • Deflected focus: The dress debacle
  • Nipalsuba Mapok #2 : Gallery
  • Running for LS polls: The candidate
  • Gift :: Poem
  • Architect/Architectural Designer @R-Square
  • Little things that help to enhance beauty
  • Congress Manifesto for Repeal AFSPA
  • Social Media - a boon or a curse?
  • Anti-CAB stand: Interesting take from PRISM
  • AFSPA on Congress Manifesto
  • Bamboo Cooking Competition #1 : Gallery
  • April Calendar for Year 2019 :: Tools
  • Yaoshang Sports @Keishampat #2 : Gallery
  • First Wave Feminism
  • JRF wanted at NERIST, Arunachal [Upd]
  • Cheiraoba Thabal 2019 at Bangalore
  • NPF to support Congress on issue based
  • Jyotishmita to represent Assam in Miss India
  • Paothang : Newsletter from Pune
  • Eyeing votes with promise on AFSPA
  • Together let's save the future
  • Shirarakhong Village, Ukhrul :: 360 View
  • Journey into Nature of Human Culture #4
  • Candidate accommodation at Aligarh
  • The globe is in your fist
  • Heartless :: Poem
  • Condemn Killing of Manjur Ahmed
  • Indifference bordering on arrogance
  • Modi's visit: Will it restored BJP image?
  • Yaoshang Halankar #1 : Gallery
  • No Budget at International Mime Festival
  • In defence of the "Meira Paibis"
  • Muhammad Abdur Rahman Khutheibam
  • Yaoshang Fancy Dress : Gallery
  • Meetei Tribe Bears More Tribal Characters
  • Phayeng Koubru Haraoba #3: Gallery
  • TabLlE :: Seireng
  • Yaoshang Marathon Race: Gallery
  • Abok :: Artwork & an Essay
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Yaoshang Pichakari #2: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Cooking competition: Gallery
  • MSAC Literary Meet @Chandigarh : Gallery
  • Lamtagee Thabal @ Pune : Gallery
  • Abdur Rahaman : Gopal Sharma Award
  • Thokchom Sanatombi : Sangeetratna
  • Mukna Kangjei #2 : Gallery
  • Sory Wahengbam : eRang Actress Profile
  • Saroi Khangba @Imphal : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2019 #1: Gallery
  • Maharaj Kumar Priyabarta Singh : Profile
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2019 : Download
  • List of Restricted Holidays for 2019
  • List of Public Holidays for 2019
  • List of General Holidays for 2019