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18 Apr,2023 03:32 PM, by: Posy Lui
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Music and performing arts have always been key elements of the Arunachali lifestyle and culture, with traditional songs and instruments passed down through the generations which can be traced back to the rich cultural practices of the different ethnic groups.

Prior to the introduction of technology, people listened to songs that were passed down orally and were expressed in their dialects. Local dialects including Nyishi, Apatani, Tagin, Mishmi, Galo, Adi, etc., as well as Assamese and Hindi languages, were used in composing many of the traditional songs. The Arunachali musicians employed indigenous instruments like the bamboo flute, drums, gongs, and cymbals among other instruments to perform songs from the folk, religious, and patriotic genres, which were among the most widespread types of music.


Rise of Foreign Music in Arunachal Pradesh

It began when access to technical breakthroughs was more limited. New technologies like radios and tape recorders, which were used to play music from all over the world, allowed foreign music to seep into the state. Through these mediums, many Arunachalis were exposed to music from all over the world, which sparked their interest in Western music. Before VH1 (one of the top English music channels at the time) was broadcasted via an antenna cable connection; sharing via Bluetooth and memory cards, purchasing CDs and cassettes, noting the lyrics by listening and pausing (or copying and pasting from a friend's lyrics book), and other conventional methods were used for discovering new music.

Although Western music had entered the state with pop music in the late 1990s (in less than a few towns) with songs of Michael Jackson, Vengaboys, etc., it was not until the 2000s that the Western music scene saw an uprising in the state with the introduction of technologies.


Genres That Divided the Arunachal Crowd

The early 2000s were a time of Pop, Rock, Punk Rock, Alternative Rock, Pop Punk, and Pop Rock music in Itanagar (and a few accessible towns), with people bouncing and rocking to the music of bands such as The Ramones, The Queens, The Scorpions, Avril Lavigne, Green Day, Linkin Park, Blink 182, and others. Yesterdrive (an all-male band) and The Viynl Records (an all-female band) are a few Arunachali bands that rocked the stage with this genre.

Metal music led to an uprising against the pop and punk rock genres in the mid-2000s. Crowds were soon banging their heads and roaring to music by Iron Maiden, Cradle of Filth, System of a Down, Lamb of Gods, and others from the Dead Metal, Heavy Metal, Nu Metal, and other genres. Alien Gods, an Arunachali metal band, were one of the pioneers and most recognized metal bands in the state until they disbanded. Today, Sacred Secrecy and Dreamscape are a few of the metal bands that continue to influence this genre.

(An amusing saga): There was also an increase in animosity between Metalheads and Punk Rockers due to differences in music, clothes, views, and so on. Until…

The late 2000s arrived with a bang, bringing with them diversity in the form of experimental music and genres. The emergence of cable television and the internet boosted Arunachalis' interest in Western and other music even further. Many people in the state began watching music videos and listening to their favourite songs of different genres on international music channels. The exposure to international music resulted in the emergence of Pop, hip-hop, R&B, Jazz,  K-pop, J-pop etc, in Arunachal Pradesh, eventually fading the spotlight on the metal and rock genres.

(Another amusing saga:) Punk Rockers and Metalheads began trolling and cancelling these new Hip-hoppers, Kpoppers, and so on.

In the present day, local hip-hop artists are still bullied for rapping in Arunachali Hindi; for their accent, swag, style, and so on, while Kpop fans are trolled for "listening to songs of good-looking guys

in makeup that they don't even understand."

Contemporary Music Scene of Arunachal: Unity in Diversity

The twenty-first century was a turning point in the music industry, breaking down barriers via exposure to many music types and opportunities provided by technology and music festivals. This exposure to Western music also resulted in the formation of local Arunachali bands who experimented with blending regional folk tunes with current genres including metal, jazz, funk, rock, pop, indie, alternative etc. As the popularity of these bands expanded, so did the Arunachal music industry, with many brilliant performers emerging from all sections of the state.

In recent years, our promising local artists such as Taba Chake (singer), Chorun Mugli (singer), Rito Riba (singer), Teji Toko (drummer), Tana Doni (guitarist) and others have reached new heights in terms of showcasing Arunachali culture, music, and tradition to the rest of the world. With the inception of a huge number of independent bands and musicians, the state's current music sector is ever-growing as well as promoting a dynamic local music scene and a mashup of traditional and modern elements. Also, Arunachalis are well-cultured; they enjoy regional songs such as Punjabi rap, Telugu, Bhojpuri, and Assamese songs, among others.

In conclusion, the emergence of new technology and being exposed to global music led to the incorporation of Western and other music into the local music scene, resulting in an interesting and diversified musical variety that is an intrinsic part of the state's artistic heritage. Today, many current musicians combine old folk tunes, dance routines, and instruments with rock, pop, and other contemporary genres. The introduction of the internet and technology has brought immense attention and exposure to the local artists from across Arunachal Pradesh as well as, played a big part in the evolution of the music scene in the state.





Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Critical Script or its editor.

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