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Kum Chirui

Kum Chirui’s Music is Rooted in Karbi Heritage

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Hailing from Karbi Anglong, Assam, the members of Kum Chirui have all been friends since childhood. ‘Growing up, we listened to the same bands and were inspired by them. After graduation, we all ended up in Delhi and it was a no-brainer for us to form a band since we already knew each other and had the same taste in music.’

They formed Trancemgrate with another childhood friend and guitarist, Kuru Ingti. Despite the primary genre being metal, Trancemgrate also played alternative non-metal music. But after a year, Kuru had to leave Delhi and Trancemigrate went on indefinite hiatus. As a result Kum Chirui was formed by the remaining members to play more melodic, alternative music infused with Karbi lyrics and melodies showcasing facets of the Karbi heritage that the members share. Recently, the band released their self titled EP.

Tell us a little about the band members. Do you all have day jobs?

Kum Chirui is The’ang Teron (Vocals), Raikom Terang (Guitars), Desmai Kachari (Bass), Songja Terang (Drums). The’ang and Songja are full time musicians playing for a number of bands in the Delhi circuit (Dreamscapade, Edit, Drop the Void, John Pamei). Desmai has a full-time non-music job in Gurgaon while I (Raikom) am currently learning to be a music producer and sound engineer.

Tell us about the song-writing process? Where do you find inspiration?

Most of our songs have been written by The’ang, our vocalist. It’s usually written with the vocals and the main guitar motifs, after which other parts and details are added in while working on the final arrangement. The songs we write are inspired by the music we listen to.

Tell us about the band’s self-titled EP?

Of the three songs, two are sung in Karbi, our mother tongue, and the other one has been sung in English. Kenglongpo and Kong Kong Do are about mythical creatures, these stories are a part of Karbi culture. Kenglongpo is the name of the Karbi mythical equivalent for the Bigfoot/Yeti/Sasquatch prevalent in other cultures. Kong Kong Do is also about a mythical creature akin to the bogeyman, used by adults to scare and discipline children. Inviting Departure is more a self introspective dialogue about endings, beginnings and the fragility of life.

The songs have been recorded, mixed and produced by me (Raikom) and Songja at our own small home studio setup and has been mastered by Acle Kahney (guitarist of pioneering djent band Tesseract) at 4D sounds, UK.

Tell us about how you started working on the EP? How did each of the songs take shape?

The songs were all written earlier so they were almost finished composition-wise when we decided to start recording the EP. That was the easy part. We decided to record and release it ourselves with help from our friends who contributed to the other aspects of the music release like artwork and videography. Kenglongpo and Inviting Departure are the older songs on the EP. Kong Kong Do is relatively new. They have all evolved in the process of playing them together over and over again.

Tell us about the problems you have faced or are facing in your effort to revive Karbi culture through music.

The main problem has been the lack of exposure for musicians in the community. Without support, Karbi music, modern or traditional will not grow. Thankfully, things are looking up as more and more local musicians playing Karbi music have been getting popular. Support has increased with more people being aware of the local music. We do not see ourselves as saviours of Karbi music, though. We are just a modern alternative rock band who have songs inspired by traditional Karbi musical motifs.

Throw some light on the future projects of the band.

We have quite a few songs written so we’ll be trying to get those out as soon as possible, maybe by the end of the year. We have a show coming up on the 19th this month, at the People & Co., Gurgaon which incidentally will be the first time we’ll be playing under the ‘Kum Chirui’ name.

By Mrinal Paul

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