Documentary on Naga folk music

For a Naga, you cannot learn your historical accounts just by way of chit chatting or by reading a book because there is no book. The only way you can get learned one section of a historical account is by learning a song because it’s in that song.

An award-winning film critic-turned-filmmaker, Utpal Borpujari has released the promo of his new documentary film, “Songs of the Blue Hills“. This feature-length documentary is the first-ever film to present such a wide range of Naga music – and musicians – together. The idea is to take the viewer in a journey through contemporary forms of Naga folk music — through 20 songs that feature fully or partly in this film.

Contrary to the general misconception even within India, the Nagas are not a single tribe. Rather, they comprise a range of ethnic communities spread across several states of Northeastern India and also Northwestern Myanmar. Like ethnic communities the world over, folk music and dances form the core of Naga culture, but what makes it even more important ethnographically is the fact that the Naga folk traditions also comprise the tradition of oral history-keeping.

Naga folk songs, thus, could be like any other folk song, and also could be an historical account of an important incident from the past. At the turn of the 20th Century, Naga folk songs had taken a back seat as the early Western missionaries opposed singing of folk songs because they were perceived to be associated with primarily spirit worship. But now, while traditional folk music has staged a comeback, younger Naga musicians are also trying to marry their music with other forms of music — be it Jazz, Blues, Western Classical or Choral — to take these traditional, ancient sounds to a much wider, worldwide audience.

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