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Sound of music on screen
- Composer retrieves folk instruments of past

Jorhat, Nov. 15: Mukunda Madhab Bora is passionate about restoring and playing extinct or little known musical instruments of different communities of the Northeast. In order to reach out to the people, he has showcased his talent in a yet-to-be-released documentary in which he composed music for 200 folk music instruments of the region.

The 41-year-old Bachelor of Music (vocal) of the Praschin Kala Kendra, Chandigarh, said for the last nine years he had roamed the length and breadth of Assam, going into remote villages to retrieve the essence of folk music that had got lost over the decades.

I have gone to many villages populated by communities like the Sonowal Kacharis, Karbis, Hasong, Goalpariya, Bodos, Darrangia, Misings, Tiwas, tea tribes and others. I have not only learnt the way they play their instruments but have attempted to revive those folk instruments which they do not use much or the present generation has not taken to, he said.

Bora, who hails from Baligaon here said he had made 60 instruments stringed, wind and percussion some of which, like the tokori, were little used these days and the rogoi dang, teng teng, kalia, dos kothia and dhutang, which have almost become extinct. He has also made a range of drums and dhols.

I have formed the Panschjanya Sur Bahini, a group of 20 folk artistes. We have created an act in which we have borrowed the best of folk tunes from different communities and play them one after the other in a series starting with the devotional hymns of the xatras, he said.

Bora said as the devotional hymns were accompanied by cymbals, daba and conch, these were first played and then they progressed to folk instruments played during the singing of wedding songs and then to Bihu musical instruments of different communities and on to the popular songs of some of the communities.

Prior to forming this group, Bora was a part of the Trinayan Hasta Shilpa Udyog at Baligaon which made masks and singhasans placed in the sanctum sanctorum of xatras and temples as well as sculptures of animals and maidens in wood.

Regarding the making of the documentary, Bora said the nearly two-hour-long film was being made by Chandra Shekhar Sharma and Runumoni Baruah of Guwahati and he had given the music to 200 indigenous musical instruments used in greater Assam now and in the past.