Please don’t stop the music!

Please don’t stop the music!
Please don’t stop the music!

Naga singers keeping music and hope alive with Virtual Choir



Rebecca K Kits
Morung Express Feature 

Music lovers in Nagaland have something to look forward to despite being locked up in their homes owing to the global coronavirus pandemic.

At a time when social distancing is being practiced and enforced, some renowned musicians from Nagaland have found a way to come together using technology to still be able to spread the joy of music through a ‘virtual choir’.

A virtual choir is basically an assembly of singers from different locations, coordinating and combining parts of their performances into a single performance.


A blessing in disguise

The virtual choir in Nagaland is the brainchild of Nise Meruno, one of Nagaland’s finest classical pianists.

With Nise as the music director, assisted by Nourhe Khate and conducted by Mhonroni Ezung, Assistant Professor at Patkai Christan College, the virtual choir will feature some of the best classically trained singers from Nagaland who will perform their rendition of ‘An Irish Blessing’ by James E Moore.

Speaking to The Morung Express, Nise shared how the project had been his dream for a long time. But because of the busy schedule and prior engagements, he could not bring everyone together earlier. However, as the lockdown took place, Nise saw a window of opportunity to finally be able to gather the artistes. “Fortunately, everyone I contacted was available and agreed to be part of the project,” Nise said.

Over the course of three days, the 18 singers recorded their individual parts and sent it for compilation. The project is the first of its kind in the state, and the singers are all from different parts of the state. “Some are from Kohima, some from Dimapur and Delhi, but all the singers are Naga,” Nise revealed.


‘It wasn’t easy!’

While the project is expected to be a fresh treat for the Nagas, it was easier said than done for the group of singers.

After recording Nise’s piano part, Mhonroni Ezung had to record conducting an imaginary choir and each of the singers then had to record their bit using whatever technology they have at hand.

They did not have access to good recording devices or studio setup and had to make do with their mobile devices.

“There may be some background noises, slight mismatch in timing, synchronisation issues etc,” Nise said, adding that this is their way of keeping it real. “Perfection is not the goal, but passion is the key,” Nise added.

Nise also said that, this being the first attempt, only 18 singers could be brought on board. Eventually, we can have the other talented singers join us in the next projects, he hoped.


Singing for hope

“In a time when people are confined to their homes, spirits are low and hearts are saddened, this is our humble attempt to bring some light, a ray of hope and to continue sharing the gift of music,” reads a message on the poster for the virtual choir.

The project is their way of sharing the gift of music and spreading positivity through it, Nise said.

The targeted release date for the video is March 29, and come Sunday, prepare to witness a new take on music, singing, collaboration and choir with the first ever virtual choir in Nagaland.