E-Pao! TAPTA - The voice of the common people :: Part 3

Part 3: Tapta Days
By: Ringo Pebam *

If Manipur had ever experienced a new dawn in its musical culture, then it was with Tapta's "Power of attraction" in 1996. The brilliance of the album hit the Manipuri mainstream consciousness like no other musical culture had done before in the state. Tapta had become not only the spokesperson of that unsettling generation but also the high priest of musical Avant- garde with his experimental music.

Witty, profound and thought provoking lyrics combined with fearless experiments that added new zest to the unending flow of talents in the state. And make no mistake!! It was no exaggeration either. See the consequents for yourselves! An unprecedented fan following and recognition occurred as testified by Tapta songs blaring out from numerous shops, homes, buses and later, his own acclaimed concerts. Indeed, that was the time when Tapta stamped an artistic triumph, a defining moment in the Manipuri musical folklore.

The crowd at his first ever concert of his life at Ranch (YAC Ground) after the release of "Power of Attraction", is perhaps the biggest ever gathering in the history of the venue.

That concert is also Jayanta's most memorable concert of his life. He shed tears of joy that night - and he shed those tears because he was experiencing things he never dreamt even in his wildest dreams. To make a career in music was tough; to love music and to live life by it was even tougher. He promised his father that he will never ever sing again. But he could not just give up the music that was in his blood, he went on to record his first ever album "Power of Attraction".

All in all, the album sold about twenty five thousands copies -an equivalent of it going platinum twice over considering the minuscule population, mostly Manipuri speakers. The album was so titled "Power of attraction" as it was conceptualized towards the female beauty and how it could attract males through all its manifestations of physicality and the impalpable grace.

The stardom the success brought about was evident in the diametrical shift of people's attitude towards him and the number of concerts he was called to perform. He was no longer viewed as an outcast with a guitar but as the pioneer of the successful album which was embraced in such a way that it defined the then Manipuri generation.

Interestingly, some of the songs like 100 Bulb and "Bomb Bomb" were written while he was in his 9th standard! It is also worth recalling that the blend of Rap-rock, much like the genre of "Power of Attraction" was just emerging out of the idiot boxes around the same time when bands like Limp Bizkit ruled the roost. And why should we not allot credit to Jayanta on his novelty.

People still wonder how he could sell the rights of his "Power of Attraction" for a mere 10 thousand rupees to the producer, before it was released. But our modest hero says, "I am what I am today because of the producer, had it not been for him, I would not have released 'Power of Attraction'". Fans find it unfortunate that Tapta gets little royalty as an artist.

Showers of compliments Tapta received post 'Power of Attraction' was phenomenal. For every compliment, he stamped his acknowledgement with a smile that tells him there still miles to go. His musical taste was to some extent influenced by his favorite bands of those days (whom he call as his teachers) Scorpions, Europe, Rainbow, Eagles, Pink Floyd, Uriah Heep, Biddu (of Tina Charles and Nazia Hassan fame), Nurasath Ali Khan, Gulam Ali, Kishore Kumar, Sureah Wadkar, Lata Mangeshar, Hamom Naba, Sanaton, Lalambung Imo, Asem Bimola…

Tapta's songs touch the realms of different kinds of music - from traditional Manipuri folk songs to the heavy metal riffs, lead solos, fast bass lines, from the contemporary Hindustani to the rap/bhangra/bollywood style. In this song called "Bad Boy" from this second album, is the best example - the first part of the song is rendered like a Marifat (Manipuri Muslim devotional song", the second part of the song is styled like a Manipuri Church Hymn and the third part of the song is sung in the Manipuri Sankeertan mode. The ending part of the song is "Pure Hard Rock approach - fast riffs and lead solos". Whatever name we give to the sound of Tapta - Tapta's unique sound, Jayanta's vocal, the thought provoking lyrics are what always stand out, what ultimately enthrall us all.

At times, Jayanta goes on to practice for 20 hours a day. The best time for pre release rehearsals and practice according to him is during the monsoon. This according to him is to reduce the noise level so that his neighbours are not disturbed by the amplified sound.

Tapta goes about weaving musical dreams. These dreams, however, are not those that come by for free. He only knows the amount of hark work that has gone into all his creative productions so far. He feels that composing a song is a very tough job. It took about 3 months to compose Tapta's Vol-2 Bad Boy. He first composed the song and then put the lyrics in. His method of composition is also unique in the sense that he gives importance to the overall composition rather than handling complexities of the lyrics. That does not mean, he chooses lyrics that makes no sense.

Jayanta's simple steps to composition:
  1. He locks himself up alone in a room with a guitar.
  2. He keeps a glass of milk and some eatables. He practices his vocal chords in the morning for about 8 hours before food. He does it before food, so that he does not feel sleepy or dull.
  3. He practices for about 10 hours during the night. He takes 1 glass of "Kang-laayen Mahi". He will skip food during this time so as to avoid losing attention and concentration.
  4. At times, the rhythm produced by him on his guitar will lead to the emergence of a new melody and tuning a melody will give birth to a new rhythm and completes the circle till a good combination strikes him.
  5. He will then record the composition in the tape.
  6. Once he finds the composition good enough, he will then start searching for appropriate lyrics.
  7. The composition with the lyrics is then recorded.
  8. He will then compare the recording without the lyrics and with the lyrics, and choose the better one.

Over time, the name Jayanta has become synonymous with the Tapta not only owing to the overwhelmingly noticeable presence that he enjoys over his lesser known band members but also the creative head that he is. The name Tapta, apart from identifying his band, also saved him from certain embarrassment.

The foremost and the first was the easiness of Jayanta to hide or remain in anonymity at the early struggling days when he was much susceptible to criticisms. He wanted to give a typical Meitei uncomplicated name for the band; to which "Tapta" fitted best. Other, folklore names like "Lammeithanbi" was earlier considered. Had he known that he would get this far, there is a possibility he would have named the band after his own.

Tapta usually does not take lyrics from others, but accepts them from people. This is done to contain them from hurling accusations of false pride over his climbing success. He does not feel like lifting tunes from others despite the prevalent trend in Manipur.

Another passion Tapta has apart from music is reading. He has almost read every Manipuri novels that were published in the state between 1970 and 1980. "Rajkumari" and "Mangleibak" are still his favorites. He credits his reading experiences to have helped him write many of his impressive lyrics which miraculously harmonized with his kind of music.

On a lighter vein, he said that the quality of writing should be such that even if you write a hundred love letters to a hundred different girls you should get at least one reply from every girl. He then went on to ascertain his own quality by asserting that he did, indeed, got reply from all hundred girls he ever wrote to! Well, we can hardly doubt that.

In an ideal instance of life imitating art, his lyrics are mostly inspired by his own experiences and the environment that undeniably influences him. Such as the case, the traumatic state of affairs in Manipur that makes the state such an inhospitable place to live in, ironically, plays a perfect host to Tapta's artistic creativity.

It is a sad fact that the given condition is not just enough to sustain many Manipuri artists commercially. He cites many senior artists who are living in pitiful conditions due to lack of a support system. However, he optimistically states that it is indeed possible to earn a livelihood as an artist in Manipur considering his own case.

That said, the effort he has to put in is tremendously exhausting. Contemplating about the future, he pointed out that the commercial viability through his music sales look rather bleak. The emergence of computers, mobile phones and various file decoding and sharing software has already taken a toll on his cassette sales. Unless, the fans of Tapta honestly approve his works through paying what his albums are worth, there is a possibility that he ends up like the hapless 'senior artists' he cited.

Some videos have been made on his songs but they are not made under the aegeis of the band except for the video of "Vote" which he remains ruefully disapproval of due to lack of quality. One might also remember the "Bomb bomb" video which was so ubiquitous in the private channels that fans actually got bored of it to such an extent that he was requested not to sing it live. However, the animated video of the song "Round kick" was very much liked by one and all. It was also commonly credited to be the first Manipuri animated video.

Even though "Power of attraction" remains his commercial high point his later albums still sold well, some even reaching upto the fifteen thousand mark. He is still passionate about music like the time he first started and devote enormous amount of time and energy into making music. Many rank some of his later albums above his first.

Even he believes that with maturity and experience he has naturally oriented into dealing with the more serious issues which in turn has produced significant songs. However, he still writes the much popular, hilarious lyrics characteristic of the first album and would continue to release them which, actually is great news. Given that he is a father now cause some hesitations over publishing such songs though. He has sung about 90 songs of others tune. Till 2007 April, he has written and sung more than 450 songs.

Out of that about 260 he released in audio cassettes. He shuffles between his home town and Imphal for recordings. He has no particular recording company. In fact, he had recorded with various companies over time.

As for his popularity, it has only increased with time. The once almost social outcast has become an idol to thousands. Trend-observant parents now buy guitar and send their kids for music classes. Everybody wants him to sing on their social occasions. The younger artists respect him so do the seniors who once derided him. Most significantly, he had gone to define the Manipuri music.

For such a person, there is a word in dictionary and it is spelt - S T A R.


For larger view click here: Albums-1 | Albums-2 | Albums-3

Friendly guidance: If you have a loud speaker or a headphone, you can 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 :)

To Download the Mp3 and full-lyrics files "RIGHT CLICK" and do "SAVE AS" from the links below:

Luching Purel.mp3 | Lyrics
Percentage.mp3 | Lyrics
Meigi Cheeng.mp3 | Lyrics
India Shining.mp3 | Lyrics

Luching Purel/Tapta

Ahaan-bada Kabo valley pithok-khare
Mathang-da Dzuko valley lousin-khare
Ahaan-bada Kabo valley pithok-khare
Mathang-da Dzuko valley lousin-khare

Houjik amuk Moreh machet Myanmar-gi oikhre
District mari Nagaland-da pibei wari saan-nari
Houjik amuk Moreh machet Myammar-gi oikhre
District mari nagaland-da pibei wari saan-nari
Yaaradi Manipur-se pithok-khroba

Houro Houro luching purel theng-lae matam
Tok-lo noigi paang-daba-do thin-lae poong-pham
Houro Houro luching purel theng-lae matam
Tok-lo noigi paang-daba-do thin-lae poong-pham


Percentage mayaam-do tok-piro
Tolop-tuna emung chalai-biro
Noi khak-ki khanbado tok-piro
Prazaa-singi-su khara khanbiro

Khoi mantri-sing-na thika toudoi
Chaokhat maning hallak-pani
Sem-gat saagat chaokhat thou-raang-gi
Thikadar-su oibani

Makhut maning-dana kak-that-le
Pot chei lonna yonthok-padei
Manipur pung-chai chairibani
Ho! Salaak saaribani

Ningthou-gina ten, ten percent
Mantri-gisu ten, Nahaarol-gi two - Twelve
Casier-gi two, thikadaar-gi forty
Engineer-gisu seventeen
Nine percent-na saaba thong
Nine percent-na saaba yumda
Laanba leiba yaroida, yaagadro

Khat-naraga sao-naraga
Oh! chang-ba laan mangol sung-oi oiroi
Khat-naraga sao-naraga
Oh! chang-ba laan mangol sung-oi oiroi

Athoubei suthaang-ni mook-lingei
Manipur kol-hing haigat-le
Kol-hing tak-naba pheng-labadi
Tum-khiba taabani leibaak-se

Meigi Cheeng/Tapta

Ningtam-na Bharat-ki awaang nongpok chidaida
Meigi cheengum lem-na ubado
Ngaalli Manipur emana
Ningtam-na Bharat-ki awaang nongpok chidaida

Laal-houba-nasu chayom sai
Huraanba-nasu sou sai
Siphai-nasu haat-pasina
Laal-houba-nasu haat-pasina
Nupi angaang thok-charak-phao khan-bide

Mantri mayaamsu hoonara lei
Machum chadousu loom-nara lei
Thika nunga, pot-tei nungdei
Mayaam-gini maang-ning maang-jou
Ninety-nine hellaba Pork-ki shaa Khan-bide

Lemja chaning-bana ngaoraba Secretary, Director
Ho! Doctor, Engineer
S.O, Ameen Supervisor officer nat-taba macha masu
Lineman, Thikadaar, Mohori, labour khanbide
Lemja chaning-bana ngaoraba Secretery, Director
Ho! Doctor, Engineer

Toti pype-ka hoori-bani
Tara korphu heiribani
Nungthil tummaga leiribani
Lammit tummit yeng-libani
Nungdang thabak sugadouri khanbide
Toti pype-ka hooribani
Tara korphu heiribani

Thabak-na manaa ama suning-daba
Lemja chaning-ba maphamsida
E masel tam-narasu
Eikhoi masel haat-narasu
1958 haiba act paamjade
Thabak-na manaa ama suning-daba
Lemja chaning-ba mapham-sida

India Shining/Tapta

Delhi-na ot-pira kang-leicha
Prithibida India-bu sak-taak-li
India shining-da Manipur-su
Maang-jin thaana chenkhat-li, Ho…

Mangaa-suba national games
Kaorasu ning-sing-da yaaroi
N.E gi national games
Manipur-da pidaba yaroi
Asiagi Asian games
World-gi Olympic games
Manipur yaodaba yaaroi

Maril horaba country-gi
Medal sampham kangleipak

Migi nupi maagi oiba act, act
Nupi-nibu haidi uba yaadaba act
Haat-lasu waakat-pa yaadaba act
Waakat-labadi hek-ta mahaatok-pa yaaba act

Arm forces-ki shell power 1958 act
Arm forces-ki shell power 1958 act

Louthok-piyu haijarubagi
Tokhaina taagesu taande
Hitler-gi saasanni kaappo haat-lo
Laallak-ta patience-pu phaojanthok

Manipur-se ngak-taba yaaroi
Yam han-thana khanbasu yaroi
India-na ngak-taba yaroi
Yam hanthana khan-basu yaroi

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 eii.meitei(AT)gmail(DOT)com or ringo_pebam(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

Also read Part 1 | Part 2

* 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 October 14th, 2007

* 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.

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