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Apeksha Bagchi

IWB Blogger

Meet Rida Gatphoh Who Leads ‘Musical Folks’ To Reconnect With Nature

  • IWB Post
  •  December 6, 2017


Bringing together artists from different backgrounds, Rida Gatphoh, a singer, and designer from Meghalaya, has perfected a six-member group of musicians and instrument makers. While the members of ‘Musical Folks’ are pretty extraordinary, the major goal they want to achieve through their music is even more unique!

Let’s start with the introductions first. The group includes Peter Marbaniang, a NID graduate, potter and self-taught duitara and guitar player, Benedict Skhemlang Hynniewta, a painter and flutist, who makes his own bamboo flutes, and Bah Rojet Buhphang, a recipient of the Ustad Bismallah Khan award.

“Some of my team members are around 60 years old. It took some time for them to wrap their heads around the concept of a formal band that would travel and showcases our local fare to the outside world,” she said.

Now you’re wondering what it is that makes them unique? Combining contemporary, jazz and urban soul with traditional music, this team has been celebrating nature and wildlife, highlighting the problems the environment faces in their beautiful melodies.

“We perform in English and Khasi, and also incorporate traditional elements like U Sier Lapaing (musical storytelling) and U Phiang Jyrngam (poetry),” said Gatphoh, who is in her 30s and is an ardent admirer of folk music.

“Even though most youngsters in my state are into high voltage music, like rock, pop, hip-hop, and reggae, I have always preferred traditional music. It’s been an intrinsic part of my life ever since I was a little girl, as my mother, Previously, is a folk singer. I grew up listening to folk instruments, poetry, and song and started singing early in local bands. This continued even when I went to Mumbai to pursue a degree in fashion designing,” she shared.

Longing to return to her original passion – music, she decided to travel across different villages in a bid to understand her roots better and connect with nature. Following this, she established the ‘Musical Folks’ in 2010, with the intention of weaving her work around nature and the environment. “I strongly believe that mankind must take its cue from nature. Through our music, we are attempting to encourage people to think of the world in which we live today and see how our collective actions are affecting planet earth.”

While their live performances may not have huge crowds in attendance, it always has the guaranteed presence of her loyal followers. And to Gatphoh, that’s all that matters as for her music is a feeling, a journey and a connection with her audience and, of course, with nature.

H/T: The Better India

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