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Rockin’ in Tokyo

Op-Ed

Rockin’ in Tokyo

I am probably the only driver still using audio cassettes for my daily dose of music in this hi-tech city. In this age of DVD/Blu-ray players or at least a CD player fitted in almost all cars, I ain’t got a CD player in my car – only a stereo cassette player and radio – that’s how ancient my car is. Though one of the rear woofers has started giving out strange, scratchy sounds when I turn up the volume beyond the half-way level, it is still a great stereo. Whenever the need for ramping up the sound arises (usually on the drive home after office on Friday evenings), all I need to do is adjust the setting and silence the rear speakers.

The usual suspects accompany me on my faithful car stereo during my daily drives to and from office. From classic acts like Deep Purple, CCR, AC/DC, Rainbow, Van Halen, to the occasional soft ballads and country to Mizo/Hmar and sometimes, lately, gothic rock (Evanescence, HIM – courtesy my kids). But for the last few weeks Mizo-rock from t-melody (Thinlung Thawnthu) and soft ballads/covers of old Zodi/Vulmawi hits and others from the newly released ‘Zoawi’ CD seem to have elbowed out my perennial companions.

Before I got the new ‘Zoawi’ VCD a few weeks ago from a friend, it was t-melody’s ‘Thinlung Thawnthu’. I had really looked forward to the album especially after the superb ‘Sweet December Concert’ CD of a few years back. I had expected more ‘Sweet December’ type numbers and was initially disappointed with the ‘heavy’ stuff when I first played the CD. But after I transferred the album on to audio cassette and played it on my car stereo, some of the songs began to cast their spell on me. I especially love the heavy-metal-rock sound of ‘Nun Khawhar’ – a really superb number. The other numbers I like are the blue-sy ‘Inpuana’ and the heavy rock sounds of ‘Dawn La’ and ‘Hringnun Hi’. But I must confess that my fingers automatically hit the forward button whenever the other songs in the album start playing until one of the four numbers I’ve just mentioned come on. Sadly, I just can’t stand the others.

The new ‘Zoawi’ CD, on the other hand, carries on from the ‘Sweet December Concert’ and is a superb collection of terrific songs and melodies. Songs like ‘Duhaisam’, a great cover of the Zodi original song of longing for a united (mythical?) Zoram, brought so many nostalgic memories of Zodi and Vulmawi during their heydays all those years ago. Another great number is the superbly arranged ‘Liandote unau’. I love the musical arrangement in this song – starting slowly with a slow, folksy

“Oh, Liandote unau unau

Dar enge in tum in tum

Dar engmah kan tum love

Liando bur chhete kan tum kan tum”

which immediately brings on visions of a more simple time and memories of children holding hands, singing in the village fields. The simple guitar riff that follows is followed by more lusty voices before the mood suddenly changes as a heavy-metal guitar riff suddenly explodes before slowing down again and the song goes on:  

“Zo hnathlak te unau unau

Dar enge in tum in tum

Dar engmah kan tum love

Insuihkhawm leh zai I rel ang u kan ti…”

The song ends with a group of small children singing the refrain. Superb (at least, to me). The odd number, and the worse, is ‘Mizo Takin’ set to a reggae beat (or is it blues). I love the reggae music of Bob Marley, UB40 and African singers and bands but I have yet to hear any of our songs set to their (reggae-type) beat that I like. Maybe it’s a cultural thing, I don’t know, because I find them most mis-matched. Our songs set to the beats of country, rock, heavy metal, gothic, even rap, are all fine provided they are well arranged, but reggae is just not on.

Contributor, Zoramobserver.com. Pu Ruolngul is a diplomat currently based in Delhi. In his free time, he writes on issues close to his heart and marathons are his cup of tea.

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