As Shillong Limps Back To Normal, Artistes Sing For Peace, Unity

Shillong has seen divisions based on ethnicities, but artistes believe that music can help in calming down the situation

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For Shillong's large musical community, the curfew and violence were a shock.


Shillong:  Meghalaya's capital Shillong is limping back to normal after five days of turmoil. In Shillong, which has a rich musical history, musicians believe that the only way to get peace back to the city is through music. These artistes are trying to reach out to citizens through live performances, choir competitions and concerts to spread the message of peace.

In the unrest-affected area of Jiaw in Shillong, NDTV met the members of the famed music band Summersalt.

Summersalt somersaulted to stardom with the Chalo Chalo number from the Hindi film Rock On 2. But the song they are singing in Shillong these days is Winds of Peace.

For the last five days, the six-membered Summersalt couldn't meet up because of the violence and curfew in Shillong. But that's now behind them, they hope.   

"I think the ground realities cannot be ignored and everyone needs to put in efforts to maintain peace. But if you look at Shillong, it has been the most peaceful in the last 15 years. And people of Shillong are perhaps the most hospitable in the entire country," said Kitkupar Shangpliang, member, Summersalt. 

For Shillong's large musical community, the curfew and violence were a shock.

"My children didn't understand what curfew meant," said Pynsuk, singer, Summersalt.

And it's affecting the economics as well.

"I run a music school at home and in the last few days, attendance has been irregular and gigs have been cancelled," said Dawad Shangpliang, member, Summersalt.

The Aroha Junior Choir, which is to participate in an international competition in Wales later this month, couldn't rehearse.

"Our practice was greatly affected by the unrest. Now we have only three weeks to rehearse for the event and we have to make up for the lost time by practicing at night," said Pauline Wajri, Director of the group.

And for many, Shillong looks different without its regular gigs.

Shillong has seen divisions based on ethnicities, but artistes believe that music can help in calming down the situation.


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