Shillong, Dec 7: Ahead of German heavy metal band 'Scorpions' performing live in Meghalaya next week, Khasi traditional musicians assembled at Laitkhroh village and serenaded music lovers with a kind of music unheard before.
The one-day festival of Khasi Traditional Instrumental music held at Laitkroh about 40 km from Shillong recently, brought together nine groups to present music using traditional instruments.
The groups are 'Rangtmah', 'Laithyrhong', 'Mylliem','Mawthawting', 'Iew Mawiong', 'Nongkynrih', 'Mawrah', 'Laitkhroh' and 'Umthli'.
The festival was organised by Synroplang Khasi Traditional Music organisation, Laitkroh, and supported by Martin Luther Christian University and Sangeet Natak Akademy.
The dancing beats of the Khasi social festivals were performed by local musicians by playing Bom(drum), Dymphong(a musical instrument made of bamboo) Tangmuri (pipe) and Cymbols.
''The purpose of organising the music festival was aimed at encouraging local musicians to preserve the traditional beats and tunes which are almost dying,'' said Executive Board Member of Sangeet Natak Akademy, Dr Helen Giri.
She said the festival was also to encourage and promote craftstmen who manufacture traditional musical instruments.
''We have to preserve our traditional music as some of our music used in death ceremony like Phur Meikha(commemorating late mother of the father in Khasi tradition) is on the verge of extinction,'' said Dr Giri, who is a historian.
''Phur Meikha music is played to invoke the blessings of the mother of the father,'' she said.
''Our intention in organising the festival of Khasi instrumental music is primarily to preserve the music as there is a fear that if not used very often, they will become extinct,'' Martin Luther Christian University Vice-Chancellor Dr Glen Kharkongor said.
He said such festivals would help his students document the rich musical tradition of the tribal Khasi people.
For students who pursue studies in music from North Eastern Hills University, Martin Luther Christain University and also those from St Anthony's College said it was a rare opportunity for them to witness traditional music.
''Most of the music played are new to us and we are glad that our rural folk know how to play these,'' said I Sohtun, one of the students.