By Natalia Ningthoujam
New Delhi, June 4 (IANS) It’s going to be ‘Mic, lights, camera, action’ on the northeastern states of India when media conglomerate Sri Adhikari Brothers Group introduces its northeast-oriented music channel Se7en next year.
Excitement is definitely at its peak for some of the region’s artistes as it will provide the much-needed platform to musicians from the northeast.
When IANS contacted the media group, which also has a music channel called Mastiii that telecasts a mix of old and new Hindi songs, it chose to hold back more information as there is still time for the new channel’s launch. Nevertheless, the region’s artistes are thrilled with the news.
Assamese musician Joi Barua, who has worked in Bollywood films like “Margarita With a Straw” and “Udaan”, says it’s an exciting thing.
“If there is a northeast channel, especially targeted to the music from there, it will serve as a platform to express original music from the region. All the states have different music, so it will be good. Existing music channels like MTV and VH1 either play Bollywood or English songs only. What about other languages?
“I think it’s a great step. The idea of it sounds exciting,” Barua, who teamed up with American saxophonist George Brooks for a song titled “Rabha” – a tribute to Bishnu Prasad Rabha, a revolutionary figure and an icon of Assam, told IANS.
Moa Subong of Abiogenesis rock-folk fusion band from Nagaland says it will be a “big help for bands from the northeast”.
“Existing music channels hardly feature bands from the northeast. They are mostly from the mainland. I am happy and glad that such a group will promote northeast. It’s a good gesture towards our musicians,” he said.
While the content of the channel is still under wraps, folk rock Imphal Talkies N The Howlers’ member Akhu aka Ronid Chingangbam has a few suggestions.
“I would expect it to feature more independent bands as they are the ones who are not affiliated to any organisation. They should also give importance to those bands who are vocal about various issues happening in the region,” said Akhu, who also works on a project known as A Native Tongue Called Peace through which he tries to bring peace and harmony between various ethnic communities in his home state of Manipur.
Borkung Hrangkhawl, a rapper from Tripura, who uses the genre to highlight issues like racism and discrimination, wants the upcoming channel to bring back the flavour of the 1990s’ music channels.
“Instead of showing reality shows which most of the music channels have started airing now, Se7en should focus more on music. Maybe, it can be the next MTV of the northeast. I hope they bring back what we used to have while growing up in the 1990s… when we had request shows and countdown shows. If they can bring that essence in this channel, it will be great.
“People will be able to request their favourite songs, they will get to watch them on TV. Maybe the demand for songs from those artistes will help them to get live shows too as it will help them to create their own fan base,” said the rapper, who is set to unveil a single titled “Fighter” — about artistes facing criticism — in August.
Mithy Tatak, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh and plays for indie rock band The Vinyl Records, says the channel should also focus on the lives of the musicians.
“If they want to show reality shows, it should be more about a band’s journey and their style of working. How they have come so far… So that the audience get to know more about them and can connect with them more,” said Tatak, who shared that it wasn’t racial but more of gender discrimination that she faced while starting off a few years ago.
“Northeast bands generally get to play at the northeast fests. So, they get restricted to that most of the time. If you compare the number of pubs playing live music, it is more in mainland cities, so there is no place to perform. There is a lack of venues. This channel will provide that platform,” she added.
The channel is yet to roll out, but it seems like hopes are pinned on it.