‘Nagaland rich in folk music, ought to be documented’

Classical music is yet to take off in a big way in Nagaland. Nevertheless, in the month of January two Naga lads were selected to partake in a workshop: Indian Youth Orchestra at Kolkata beginning April 18-22. The workshop is being undertaken by the Vienna Philharmonic under the wings of famed music conductor Vijay Upadhyaya. The boys - Nourhevilie Khate and Yanzo Kikon are products of Hope Centre for Excellence, Dimapur and pupils of R. Kevichusa, a retired bureaucrat and a veteran violinist among the Nagas. Khate and Kikon have also been selected to perform with the German Orchestra during the German Chancellor’s visit in late May.
Thanks to the enthusiasm and creative intuition of music schools like Hope Centre for Excellence, it is gaining ground here. And as prove, none other than Vijay Upadhyaya - an illustrious figure in the classical music scene landed in Dimapur on April 15. Upadhyaya, who is presently the artistic director of the Vienna University orchestra and Choir has conducted several choirs and orchestras abroad, among them the Graz University Choir and Orchestra, Thirteen Strings Canada, the Boston Sinfonetta, USA and The Borusan Orchestra in Turkey.
His profile states: “He specializes in Mozart opera, oratorio and orchestral repertoire and the combination of Asian techniques such as Yoga and Tai chi with western vocal and conducting styles.”  
“Music is what drives me”, said Upadhyaya, interacting with The Morung Express today at Hope Centre for Excellence. Particularly inclined towards the preservation and promotion of indigenous ethnic music, he said that his passion is to merge folk music of any culture with other music forms, at the same time without spoiling its original fabric.  
Nagaland is very rich in folk music, yet he cautioned that it will die out if it is not preserved as an art form. “It cannot be kept they way it is… atleast there should be good documentation… there has to be a concept for the conservation of indigenous (cultural) music.”
Folk music of Nagaland, according to him has not got the exposure it deserves and hence called for further efforts, so that the world at large comes to know of it. “You need an eye from outside” to recognize it.  
Personally, he said that he is fascinated with Naga folk music, which he averred has a semblance of those found in the Yunan province of China. Upadhyaya has also worked with the China National Symphony.
When taken from a financial perspective, he held that it holds well paying jobs. Mentioning Khate and Kikon, he said that the boys can perform and teach in the long run.  
If all goes well, he said that wants to collaborate with people in the villages “who could sing pure folk music”.
Upadhyaya will be leaving on April 17. He will visit Kohima on Saturday where he will meet with the Commissioner & Secretary Tourism, Art and Culture, Himato Zhimomi, IFS. Upadhyaya disclosed that it was through Zhimomi that eventually brought him to Nagaland and coming to know of its folk legacy.
Caption: Vijay Upadhyaya