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Interview With A North Eastern Band Who Use Music For Awareness On Youth And Drug Abuse

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By BASIC:

BASIC organised a “7×7″ concert, featuring one band each from all the North East Indian states to raise awareness on drug abuse. The concert was held on 2nd November and was a huge success with massive audience participation and wonderful musical performances. The band representing Nagaland in the concert on “Youth and Drug Abuse” was Abiogenesis, here’s a short interview with the band:

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Tell us more about yourself/ your band

Abiogenesis is a folk-fusion act that hails from Nagaland, India. It’s no surprise then that our sound can be exotic. Abiogenesis reinvented version of folk music is called “Howey Music.” Blending Naga folk elements from India and modern music, the result is offbeat, unique, and completely enchanting.

Supporting our new style of music, and enhancing the cleverly-shifting melodies of the modern guitar compositions, is the addition of the newly invented musical instrument called Bamhum. That instrument is the invention of Abiogenesis’ Moa Subong. The Bamhum’s unique tone bring an otherworldly quality to the band’s sound and highlights the group’s fresh take on a classic genre.

The band’s action-packed shows and positive do-or-die attitude are already getting increasing notice around the globe. Abiogenesis has performed in five countries: India,Thailand , Russia, Bhutan and Myanmar. We have performed for the Royal family at the Indian Embassy, Thimpu, Bhutan on Indian Independence Day 2011 and to 160 Consul Generals at the Raj Bhawan, Mumbai on 16th November 2011.

Tell us about your musical genre and the inspiration behind it

Abiogenesis started off as a rock band playing both covers and originals. But as we matured, we realised that we needed to take our music to a higher level. So we decided to leave out covers and mainstream music for good and evolved our own sound and identity. We started to explore and experiment resulting in evolving Howey music, which is now Abiogenesis brand of music. It’s a fusion of Naga folk tunes with various forms of modern music. Howey is a word used to chant by the Nagas ever since time immemorial while dancing or doing work thus giving an energetic feel. In short, we incorporate a part of the past and take it to the future through our music. Our music is avant garde and we are regarded as the only band in the world to play Howey music and the Bamhum.

How did you hear about BASIC? What was your reaction?

We heard about Basic through Elvis and were happy to see an organization seriously into activities for good causes.

Why did you join the ‘7×7’ Music Project?

When we were briefed about the project by Elvis and saw that the project was for a good and relevant cause we readily agreed to be a part of it and help in every possible way to make it a success. We would also like to let you know that Abiogenesis is a pioneer in the region to organize concerts/ festivals for awareness on narcotics and drug abuse. The meaning of Abiogenesis says it all — ‘To reactivate the dead cells’. When Abiogenesis was formed many peer musicians were into narcotics which we felt that they were more or less ‘living dead’ so we decided to take up the cause to combat against it and found it apt to give the name ‘Abiogenesis’ to the band.

Your comments on how to better channelize the musical talent in the NE. How can BASIC help?

Talent in NE was there right from before and it sounds better now as we are getting all the latest branded musical instruments and gears. Many good recording studios has sprung up so one can now cut a good album in most of the NE states. There are quite a good number of event management groups and venues for bands to perform so things are improving but still a lot needs to be done. If managements and venues could co-ordinate or collaborate then we feel that organizing a tour for the artistes would be easier. If NE is put together then it becomes a big market but if we isolate each state than the market becomes too small and will not generate good returns. Print media does feature artistes regularly but TV channels rarely feature them. Artistes would gain mass exposure and fan following in NE if only the TV channels were to promote them. Kudos to the cable networks in Aizawl for having 3-4 music channels dedicated to local artistes.

Basic has already delved into and begun promoting and creating a sense of oneness in the NE with ‘7×7’ Music Project. A good start with bands from all NE states coming together on a common platform.

Your message for the society battling with the problem of drug abuse

The reasons for drug abuse are manifold. Some of them can be attributed to frustration, curiosity, peer group influence and in few places like Nagaland, Mizoram or Manipur which are dry states, the youngsters take drugs to get high. However, the menace of drugs can be fought. Education and awareness is the first step. Children need to be told at home and in school about drugs. Create effective laws to stop dealers. However the main target should be the user. Families and counselors need to talk to children and people at risk. Parents need to look at their children and help them to become responsible people.

Your message for the youngsters

Remember there’s no substitute for hard work. Look up to someone when you start to learn and play but as you mature, create your own sound and identity and make sure you don’t sound like anybody else. One should not wait for others or opportunities to come looking for us but one should move out, compete and find openings. Be firm in what you do and always keep your head held high and always remember where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Your dream for NE India

To attain a status amongst the most beautiful places in the world with peace loving people, better roads, regular power, booming economy and with the natural beautiful landscape with flora and fauna of the region would be a great getaway for the people of the other world to come and rejuvenate themselves.

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