Tej Mundu with wife Monika at their studio in Ranchi. Picture by Hardeep Singh
A musical couple has come to the rescue of endangered tribal tones.
The dying beats of different communities will soon resonate among GenY listeners, courtesy Tej and Monika Mundu, who have embarked on a mission to churn out a fusion of tribal notes — a first-of-its-kind venture — to keep alive the state’s rich musical tradition.
The couple, who hails from Kadru in Ranchi, will come up with a CD on instrumental music of tribal communities like Mundas, Oraons, Santhals, Kharias and Hos.
They will also incorporate tunes of non-tribal groups like Panchpargania and Nagpuri.
“The younger generation is indifferent towards traditional music and has very little idea about it. Hence, we decided to come up with such a work that will not only be pleasing to ears, but will also explore the world of tribal musical instruments,” said Tej, an acclaimed musician.
Though instruments like nagara, mandar, dholak and flute are common, there is hardly any use of tuila, turhi, bher, panam and kendra anymore.
“These traditional instruments are now available only in some nondescript villages and a handful of people knows how to play them. Thus, we have roped in such villagers and shooting with them at our Ranchi studio. Each of the 32 tribes across Jharkhand plays the same instrument differently,” he added.
The couple has recorded one-fourth of the work and plans are afoot to complete it in the next two months.
Interestingly, the tribal musical beats were passed from one generation to another through practice and were never encrypted in notes.
But, the couple has again come up with a solution.
“We are converting tribal beats and ragas in written forms, which will live on,” said Monika, who has the credits of singing in myriad languages like Mundari, Nagpuri, Hindi and Bengali.
And what more, the duo want to release the CD on November 15, the birth anniversary of Birsa Munda, as a mark of tribute to the tribal ideologue.
“We will also stage a live performance using all those traditional musical instruments that feature on the CD on that day,” Tej added.