Music to the ears of wildlife lovers - Assam violinist to compose theme tune for rhino conservation venture

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By DAULAT RAHMAN
  • Published 30.09.13
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Sunita Khound Bhuyan (left) performs during a Bihu function in Margherita. File picture

Guwahati, Sept. 29: The only “music” the rhino has heard for sometime now are the staccato bursts of gunfire, the crescendo reached in gory death.

In the making, however, is music of the soothing kind, played on the violin for Assam’s pride — the one-horned rhino — a species that draws tourists and poachers alike, albeit for different reasons.

A private bank has decided to look over the counter and in association with the Assam government, do its bit to spread awareness about saving the rhino.

Apart from violinist Sunita Khound Bhuyan, who will score the music dedicated to the rhino, the venture has roped in both Bollywood and Assamese actors, with John Abraham likely to be nominated as the brand ambassador to say “Yes to save our pride: the Assam rhino”.

Assam chief wildlife warden Suresh Chand told The Telegraph that the forest department was interested in the project and had decided to join hands with Yes Bank to launch it at the earliest. “Any initiative towards conservation of rhino is welcomed by the department.”

Parthapratim Goswami, senior vice-president (government relationship management), Yes Bank, said at a time when there is rampant killing of rhinos by poachers, nobody could remain a mute spectator. “It is our responsibility to do something to protect the rhino,” he said.

Bhuyan told this correspondent from Mumbai over phone, “As musicians we are always performing for aesthetic appeal. It gives a lot of meaning to our passion to create music for a cause like this.”

She said the objective of the signature tune is to make a global audience connect to Assam’s wildlife and empathise with the brutalisation of the rhino. It should also evoke a sense of intrigue and attract people to know more about the animal. “I hope the project will break the myths that rhino horn cures cancer and is an aphrodisiac.”

The tune has been composed and arranged with world music elements and the emphasis is on Assamese Bihu and Karbi folk. The Karbi Anglong district, a part of which borders Kaziranga National Park, has its own distinct music.

The violin will be the lead instrument with equal accompaniments of the flute and local percussions like bor taal, nagra and the Assamese dhol with a contemporary flavour. African drums have been blended with the local instruments for a world music feel. The tune will be the background score for the audio-visual film created for the project.

Sunita said the tune starts with a soft violin solo leading to a powerful crescendo mixed with symphonic strings and multiple drums with all other melodies and rhythms joining in.

Goswami said besides Bhuyan’s tune, they would conduct painting and poster competitions, free health check-up camps for forest guards, a national-level workshop in Delhi, study tour of school students to Kaziranga, awareness drive for tourists on rhino conservation, blog-writing competition and a competition on Twitter.

“We are in talks with John Abraham to become the brand ambassador of the project. We are also in touch with Assamese artistes like singer Angaraag Mahanta (Papon) to become a part of our project,” Goswami said.