Of Rock Music, Their Aficionados and the Mind-set of the Hoi Polloi

Ever since the last few months, my newsfeed on facebook has been continuously filled with updates from a group of enthusiastic rock music lovers from Manipur. The group’s primary aim is to help and promote all the rock musicians that hail from Manipur and North Eastern States. I am talking about none other than our very own Rock Music Community of Manipur. Yes they are the ones who recently spearheaded one of the historical events in our state- a never before held metal rock convention right in our home town. I missed the concert but thanks to facebook and thanks to all those friends/aficionados of rock music who had uploaded live photos and even enabled live streaming videos of the concert because of which I could nearly enjoy First Metal Convention in Imphal.

It was indeed a big day for many rock music fans in Manipur and also from the North East. This first ever metal convention in the state was headlined by none other than the God of Thrash Metal- POST MARK. Most of the metal heads claim POSTMARK as the first metal band of India. When the rest of the country was stuck to Bollywood with Baba Sehgal or Anu Malik, POSTMARK introduced a new taste of music that now runs in the vein of every rock music lover from our state. The formation of POSTMARK band in fact marked the beginning of the metal age era in the country as a whole. And after 18 long years, the band members were reunited on stage on that very day. Besides POSTMARK, other bands who participated in the convention include-

YONSAMPLE (KOLKATA)
AZURE DELUSION (NAGALAND)
CLEAVE (IMPHAL)
CHEM WEED FM (IMPHAL)
DEAD MOBSTER (IMPHAL)
SANDREMBEE (IMPHAL)

Despite the busy professional/personal schedules, sleepless nights, financial problems and heaps of unexpected issues every now and then they finally created history in the state with the recent ‘Metal Convention on 14th April 2012.

‘Rock touraga kei kaanadoino’ is a common mindset among maximum section of our society. Therefore, helping or promoting rock musicians in Manipur means facing lots of challenges- financial, personal, professional- you name it. It is also worth noting that most of the rock musicians and aficionados in our state are misconstrued on many grounds. For an individual who wants to culture or promote the taste of rock music, ‘Rock ta ngaorabani maadi’ is one hell of a discouraging feedback from a relative, friend or even a member of the family. I know many rock music fans would be able to empathise with me on this issue.

Well, from personal perspectives, as outsiders, most of us even think that rock musicians lead a pretty cool lifestyle. We do envy the way they carry themselves. However, what we see is not necessarily what we should believe. There are many established and budding rock bands that do not have enough financial sources to buy gadgets or musical equipments. But it is really commendable how they struggle to promote their keen interest in the field. They do not mind spending their pocket money or hard earned salary to culture their passion.

Night time is the right time to jam. However, in a state where load shedding is a gripe among the people, most of the rock bands jam with the help of power generators that cost them litres of Kerosene to run. By the way, I must not forget to mention that a litre of Kerosene in Imphal costs more than 100 rupees. So, if a band jams for 3 or 4 hours, they are spending at least 400 or 500 bucks per day just to jam. Besides their financial woes, most of their families do not understand them affected by the same ‘rock touraga kei kaana doino’ mindset. But they are not ready to give up. Their spirit is high. Some of them even self finance their own business not for any profit but to bring a change in the music world.

Dead Mobster, a budding death core metal band in Imphal is second to none when it comes to fighting against all the odds of surviving in the music world. This band composes and plays songs that reflect the issues in the society such as corruption, rape, gun culture etc. A few of their songs such as Killers Don’t Cry, Give me Strength – truly reflect their struggle to survive in the music world. The band members are currently working hard to release their new song 18th -themed on the 18th June massacre. Their number “Walk a little faster” is also a stirring song about HIV people, how they struggle in the society for survival. Hats off to many such bands that reflect our social and political issues through their songs!

I earnestly feel that it is the high time majority of the population understands the taste of rock music in our state. And most importantly those who have a taste of this genre of music should not be misconstrued on any ground. So, next time when a heavy metal fan at your/our very Leikai practices with his drum or guitar, ‘Jingha da noong thaaba toklasi’.

This article was published on 22 April 2012
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