Meghalaya Musician: Shillong the Rock Capital of India
JODHPUR, (IANS) – She talks about exploring the layers of her roots, about how different elements of Khasi music offer an inexhaustible insight into diverse socio-cultural aspects of her people’s lives. In almost the same breath, singer and music teacher Amabel Susngi from Meghalaya swears by the magic of Jazz and Blues.
The 28-year-old vocalist remembers being inspired by her grandmother, who would sing folk songs often — something she feels has been instrumental in her career choice. “She passed on before I could document all the songs. My parents were also involved in church choirs.”
From an early age, Susngi knew she also wanted to get involved in the academic side of music. “So, my mother sent me to an institute to learn Western music. I went to Martin Luther Christian University in Shillong.”
Shillong is considered the rock capital of India. The singer says that living there has a lot to do with encouraging young singers. “There is a thriving cafe culture there that promotes home-grown bands. There is a certain openness where different genres can think of thriving. The audience’s ears are open to new sounds and the coming together of different cultures. Precisely why you see so many musicians from that place who have done exceptionally well across the country.”
The musician, who is part of a band ‘4th element’ which plays Jazz, Blues and R&B, adds: “While my roots are firms entrenched in Khasi music, I have always been open to other genres. Exposure to different genres adds multiple dimensions to one’s style. It opens one to different techniques and styles.”