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Wahkhen KSING Repertoire – A glorious display of traditional music of the Khasi tribe

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Shillong, Nov 20: The hills are alive with the sound of music as the Department of Arts and Culture, Government of Meghalaya organised a one-day cultural event called ‘Wahkhen KSING Repertoire’, the full form of KSING being ‘Khasi Songs in Indigenous Glory’.

The event was held on November 18, 2022, at a recently declared Khasi Musical Heritage Village of Wahkhen, East Khasi Hills District.

Wahkhen is a village where every villager is a natural musician. Children at a young age can be seen tapping their feet to the thud of traditional drumset beats called ‘Skits’. It is here that music whether in rhythm or melody form resides in the DNA of the locals, age no bar.

The upbeat programme was curated by the department to reflect the variety of art forms and cultural traits of the Khasi people, including music, dance, food, toys, fruits and vegetables of all kinds that are traditionally-based and locally sourced. There was excitement in the air as efforts to protect and promote Khasi music and culture were visible in the event.

A varied and assorted cultural items adorned this one day festival, including the first time ever public display of Ka Jingrwai Iawbei – a heart song blessed by the mother to her child, Tem Ksing Phong, Tem Kdor, Ngoh Krai dance, Shad sut or sut dance, Shad kiew iing – literally meaning House Warming dance (Shad skain, Rwai saw Rishot and Shad khyrdem) and Shad Mastieh or Mastieh Dance.

Rhythms have been the strongest creative point of the Khasi group of people, where the convergence of Arts and Science of sound by virtue of the skin instruments come to live, hence, by-passing the mind to connect straight with the heart. KSING as an event is a culmination of creative thoughts, heartfelt nitty-gritty, hyper-local nuances, traditions and evolving cultures of the Khasi hills, yet, still connected to and with the cultural roots. The word KSING literally meaning Drum in Khasi also signifies rhythms, celebrations, feel and cultural festivals that of traditional origin.

Present as Chief Guest was Munish Singh, Regional Director of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), in the presence of the village chief, Sordar S. Khongjirem, Assistant Director, Department of Arts and Culture, Government of Meghalaya, D. Kharjana, empanelled member of the department Kit Shangpliang of the folk-fusion outfit Summersalt and other community leaders.

The event was organized under the aegis of Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas, a cultural initiative of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs to celebrate the diversity of the tribal cultures in the country, and also as part of the celebration of 75 years of India’s Independence and 50 years of Meghalaya’s statehood.

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