Initiative to promote NE folk, traditional music

Guwahati: National award winning Assamese singer, composer and music director Tarali Sarmah has taken an initiative to preserve and nurture the folk and traditional music of the Northeast.

Sarmah, who was awarded the best female playback singer for the film "Akashitorar Kothare" at the 51st National Film Awards, has set up an organisation `Aadhar` to preserve and propagate the unique musical heritage of both Assam and other states of the region.

“Aadhar aims primarily to promote cultural understanding, creative expressions and social harmony through music and art,“ Sarmah told PTI.

Assam has been bestowed with a rich heritage of folk and traditional music which has been further enriched by the lilting tune and lyrics of various ethnic tribes like the Mishings, Karbis, Bodos, Rabhas, Motoks, Morans among others.

“Each community of the region has unique and heart- touching music, songs and dances and through Aadhar we aim to give exposure to the varied musical forms,“ she said.

Daughter of Assam`s Sangeet Natak Akademi-winning eminent folk exponent and flutist Prabhat Sarmah, the singer pointed out that music, specially folk and traditional music, is a family forte.

Sarmah`s musical journey has been greatly influenced by her family`s close association with the historic Barpeta sattra (Vaishnav monastery) with her uncle being its Sattradhikar (monastery head) and this is reflected in her various musical compositions. .

Sarmah pointed out that Aadhar was the outcome of her “passion, dream and vision“ for promoting folk culture.

“The organisation will initially take steps to increase public awareness of the influence of folk and traditional music in promoting a peaceful and constructive social setup“, she said.

Aadhar will support cultural diversity and promote social harmony through innovative and creative study process.

“We will provide exam-oriented systematic study of the traditional and folk form of music in the form of diploma courses to encourage careers in music,“ she said.

Aadhar will also organise music festivals to propagate and popularize folk and traditional music among the masses at regular intervals.

“Above all, we are committed to provide a platform for performing art and artists,“ she said.

In her own musical journey, the versatile singer-composer has time and again chosen the ancient and extremely difficult idioms of various traditional and folk music, to harness and express her creativity.

She created a distinct identity for herself by composing music for All India Radio programme at the tender age of 12, becoming the first female singer of the region to win the coveted `Rajat Kamal` for playback singing and the first female music director in the mobile theatres of Assam.

Sarmah as a playback singer has sang in around 25 films, worked as a music director in three Assamese films and also composed music for several telefilms, albums, serials and have nine solo albums to her credit.