E-Pao! TAPTA - The voice of the common people :: Part 1

Part 2: Early Days (1968 to mid-90’s)
By: Ringo Pebam *

Loukrakpam Jayanta, son of L Bijoy and Mangolnganbi, was born on 01-04-1968 at Naranseina Mamang, Moirang, Bishnupur District.

He had to fight against all odds, being born to a poor family who was not supportive of art and music. His parents never liked music but could not say much to him and his passion for the music, as he was their only son.

His uncle (late) Ghandha, his inspiration, was the person who backed him in his dream – ‘music’. Mr Ghandha introduced him to the world of music. It was around when Jayanta was in class 2, that he taught him the basics of ‘music’ -how to sing, how to play the tabla.

He never missed his chance to sing in the music system that was hired for the “Likol” game that used to be played in his uncle, Ghandha’s house. His parents were happy to hear him sing in the mike, but never seemed to like him getting into music professionally. However, his two sisters liked him and his music.

After Mr Ghandha passed away, his cousin brother (late) O Thoiba, helped him in igniting the fire in him to make him reach the stage he is in presently. O Thoiba was the last person in the village who made honest efforts to keep the flame of music in him alive.

Jayanta still remembers the music and lyrics O Thoiba wrote – “Shet-pi-ro Ema laan-mee-gi phijet, Tambi-ro Baba nong-mei-kappa”, “Leibak-lei ho leibak-lei taibang taiyon-nabi leibak-lei”, “Ebungo-macha lou-ne nunbu chak-thongbi saan-na-se”.

O Thoiba helped him twice to get a chance to sing in the “Angang-gi Thouram” at AIR. Winning first position in singing cover songs on stage began to give him the kick of music, and since then he began caring less about time and place when it came to music and singing.

After his graduation, music was in full swing in his life. In 1989 he left home for Guwahati to pursue a course in Post graduate diploma in computer application. He bought a guitar when he was in Guwahati, which resulted in the landlord (where he was putting up) kicking him out of the place 12 times.

To learn to move his finger around the guitar strings, trying to strum it in the right manner, with the right attitude was a task he made sure never to fail each and every day. He took tips from Ranjit, who was not at all interested in giving him regular guitar lessons. Jayanta feels that he would not have learnt so much had he not met Ranjit, because he had made up his mind to make sure that he played better than Ranjit.

At that time, Jayanta was married to Pratima from Shunushiphai. In 1993, he completed his PGDCA and came back to Manipur. But, to the disappointment of all his family members he gave up computers, the very subject he had pursued academically and went for his passion – music. He joined the Bina Musical Club at Phubala, which later became Apunba Naharol Semgat Lup.

In 1994, he was with Tamna Musical Center as a guitarist and composer, and in 1995 with Song Dance Drama and Cultural Association as part time. As a guitarist, what he earned was less than his expenses. His first earning happens to be for a performance he gave on Saraswati Puja at Rudra High School for a meagre sum of just Rs. 50/-. And the amount he was earning as a guitarist was far too less for him to run his family and look after the everyday needs.

He still asked himself – what else did he get at that time other than “Khatna-cheinaba, Ngao-sin-naba, Khonthi-Chaba, Matam maang-hanba”?

Many people looked down on him, with words of sheer mockery and sneer. Parents advised their children to stay away from him. It was like “Guitar aama pai-raga kanna-dabada-koina chatlee”?

He fondly remembers the words of his aunt – “Ebungo nangbu gyan taro-ne”.

He never wanted to bloom like a beautiful “gulab” in a place where anyone hardly notices, but he preferred to be a “naton chabi gulab” which is seen, even if it is grown in a dirty drain.

In Manipur, most people have the attitude of – “Don’t let your neighbor grow”, in short -“yeng-sin-bi-naba mee yaam-mi”, “hoon-naba kalli”, “khan-tha-ba youde”, “atop-pa-bu nungsi-na yeng-ba ngam-de”.

The Manipuri society thinks they are classless and free, but some section of them are still the hypocrite lots as far as it can be seen. A working class hero is something to be. A middle class hero is something to be.

Here’s a small incident of what he had to go through in the beginning. This anecdote was while he was composing a duet song for a celluloid Manipuri film.
A Director asks to a Top Senior Female Singer: “Nahaan-gi sur-du taabi-rak-labra Oja?” [Have you heard the tune/rythmn of that song, Oja?]

Top Senior Female Singer replies to the Director: “Mathong maram khang-daba sur-dubu kamaina taa-doino?” [How am I gonna get the tune/rhythm of this non-sense piece?”]

A famous drummer who says: “Manipurgi music artist 100% na nangbu nung-shide, ama-sung nungi esei taaningde, programme su yeng-ningde, adubu paam-badi paam-mi”. [100% of the Manipuri artists hate you, they don’t want to listen to your songs and also don't want to watch your regular programs but they simply like you.]

A top junior male singer who loves him says: “Nangbu kalaa-da haat-tok-naba meeting taret-lak surae pham-li-ba”. [Seven meetings were already held to jeopardise your singing career.]

A top senior male singer says to his Teacher: “Lawai macha-dubu Oja-na nak-sin-naraga chaak-ka kouridubu kari touge hairibano?” [What is Oja's intention to become close to that village lad by even inviting him for a feast?]

After a long period of sneer and scorn and going unnoticed, he began to realize that - he had to go to Imphal to be known or heard in Manipur, he had to go to Delhi to be known or heard in India, he had to go to America/New York to be known or heard throughout the world, to be more famous he had to have money and “sang-ga”.

Against all odds, with a never-say-die spirit and a devil-may-care attitude of what people had to say, Jayanta kept struggling in what he believed. And he kept soaring higher and higher…

Catch you all with the story of the coming of “Tapta” in our next part very soon.

Here are some excerpts from some songs of Tapta:

Friendly guidance: If you have a loud speaker or a headphone, you can go to, download the mp3/lyrics files, and listen to them as you read Tapta’s story, or wear a *smile of triumph* as you read the words of the lyrics of Tapta :)

Ema Amatagi Machani/Tapta

Leiraang kayaana kenkhibada meirilakta
Sangbaanaa ching-maida taangoi onkhrabada meiriduda
Kaplammoi khanbara tamgi nabungsingna
Waaramloi ningbara tamgi nataroisingna

Palep-pham khangdraba eraangsida
Churak-pa kumgi nong ekhoigi malemsida
Taarak-o ayukki lilaa ching-maising-sida muthat-pirammu
Amuktang chingi lammeise

Chingsaang toom-na oot ondringei,churak-lo kumgi nong
Chingsaang toom-na oot ondringei,churak-lo kumgi nong

Download Ema Amatagi Machani mp3 and full lyrics from:

Loktak Project/Tapta

Ethai dam thingkat-la loubukta esing yok-la thamludeido
Electric-ki manglanda chara hengadourido
Mei ngaan-nabanena, mei thaan-nabanena (1x2)

Chingkhong ching-yai lou haanngi-gum pung-kangi
Kaannadraba canal toubada pari kayaa maange haa, haa
Miyoi lising amamuktang thabak tou tolop piri
Mei ngaalle meidagi crore kunthramuk kai, oh oh oh

Somda lounamme, esing-da lounamme... esingna louhaatle
Somdadi lounamme, esing-da lounamme... esingna louhaatle
Mei ngaan-nabanena, mei thaan-nabanena (1x3)

Lou-uba yaadaba chingkong chingyaada komnao komjao toubiro
Loktei loubara guha toubara nadom hing-naba hotnaro
Esing yonbagi mamal taange peisa henna piyo haisira
Kshetripuron louraga balance oinaba hotsira
Lou-uba yaadaba chingkong chingyaada komnao komjao toubiro
Lloktei loubara guha toubara nadom hing-naba hotnaro

Download Loktak Project mp3 and full lyrics from:


Thabak-su haappidre peisaado han-biro sendoi puba ngamjadre

Sarkaar-na mawong eta taadabane
Thabak haappa thing-libasi taari-baduni nang
Crore manga chang-na yum saajil-lubagi
Peisagi mathasisu saariba-nine ei

No-no-di kaidei, no-no-di kaideino no-no-di kaidei
Num engkhol bandhop thambei-ni migi pido lishing marphu
Nang yumko nang semli-ngeida mapuna eikhoi taalle
Ho ... pidou loibase, handabadi yaaroi ei lupa
Ngammaroi khangi nang thabak haappa,
Ngammaroi khangi nang sel hallo
Kaannade ei waa yaamna ngaang-nadana
Kaannade chat-lage ei peisa piro

Hei noi yumda laak-laga ei sael lourabro
Nakhut-mak-na lou haiduna piram-lim-ni nattro
Noi yumda laak-laga ei peisa lourabro
Nakhut-mak-na laak-laga piram-lim-ni nattro
Ngaabu thillak-pane yenbu thillakpane,
Heibu thillakpane, yubu thillakpane
Eisu yaadra yengluba nattro

Piraroi hairiro naharol yao hairo
Peisadi laal touraga pidra bomb phoom-muro

Piraroi hairiro nahaarol yao hairo
Peisadi laal touraga pidra bomb phoom-muro
Nachaga kidnap touraga crore taalluro (1x2)

Aaah aah aai aai peisaga khai laakpada chenbadagi
Commandoda kaapthat-tuni haijindanako nang

Hae hae hae hae nahaarol yaowe-ga haijillaga
Army phudek-hallaga jailda namsin-danako nang

Download Commando mp3 and full lyrics from:

Ei vote lepkhini/Tapta

Mit-maang-da toina ui lupa bundle bundle
Mit-maang-da toina ui lupa khaojao khaojao
Ningthoudouna paanbei nungaibado
Mondum montekki amonbado

Eikhoi tourambado hendi henmallaba-jaatni
Eikhoi tourambado hendi henmallaba-jaatni

Assembly hall ward-ka mei tumna chaakning chaakchou
So lol-laga mei thabadudi pende
Yaam thina ngaang-ning ngaang-jou
Yaam thina phuning phujou
Peisa pukhibadudi paamde ei

Handak kaaraga sel yaam hooraga
Manipurgi lam makhei takhat-tana leisillaga…
Helicopter planegado tongthokke tongthokke khallambado
Kaaraga sel yaam hooraga

Manipurgi lam makhei takhat-tana leisillaga…
Helicopter planegado tongthokke tongthokke khallambado
Download Ei vote lepkhini mp3 and full lyrics from:

Exam Hall/Tapta

College-di kaaningdraga class toina leithok-laga
Ethak eraangda taora leikhona,
Lairik paaningu-nadana , Ngaosinnaraga leiyuna
Exam hall manung asidana, kolom maning chiklaga charido thumbro?
Paaningdradi failni
Lairik paaningu-nadana
Ngaosinnaraga leiyuna, exam hall manung asidana
Kolom maning chiknlaga chaarido thumbro, paaningdradi failni
Noinaka hayenga toudorise karino khanbada eidi mambi

Kei kannano tammunuda lairikaado
Napaa namaa minai oini tamba tok-o
College-ga laak-laga ngaosin-naringei
Mayaang-dagi lemna phuraga barap loop-pingei
Khara leira oidradi noibo hek huraanbo

Kouhoudre ojaa chaak kouhoudre,
Kouhoudre pihoudre exam hall manungi mammal

Download Exam Hall mp3 and full lyrics from:

NOTE: The reasons for the mp3 files made available at are – sharing music among music lovers, promoting the talent and letting the message in the songs reach across borders. Everybody is encouraged to share the files with others like we do. Nobody is expected to use it for commercial purpose. Burning of mp3 files into CDs and selling for profit which is heard to be a common practice in Manipur. Please do *not* do that, please maintain some ethics.

DISCLAIMER: The lyrics are written by listening to their original sound tracks, it's not officially provided by the Tapta Band. Hence, there may be errors in the lyrics. Our intention is just to share the music/lyrics/message and promote the talents. Hope our intention is well understood.

If any comment or suggestion is to be given, we can be reached at jeeban_kmr(AT)indiatimes(DOT)com or ringo_pebam(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

Coming soon: Tapta: Part 3 – Tapta Days (mid-90’s to present day)

Also read Part 1
* Ringo Pebam, a Software Engineer in Bangalore, and a Free and Open Source Software enthusiast, contributes regularly to The writer can be contacted at ringo_pebam(AT)yahoo(DOT)com. This article was webcasted on September 09th, 2007

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