Naga artists to act as cultural ambassadors

The Morung Express: 11 April, 2013

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Director and Manager of Gedung Kesenian Jakarta, Bambang Subekti and Sarah Ulfah with representatives of the Rattle & Hum Music Society, Theja Meru and M. Ababe Ezung after their meeting on April 5 in Jakarta, to finalize plans for the upcoming Handshake Concert. 

Handshake Concert 2013 to be held in Jakarta

DIMAPUR, APRIL 11 (MExN): With an effort to promote cross-cultural goodwill, the sixth edition of the ‘Handshake Concert’ is scheduled to be held in Jakarta on June 19. Since its inception in 2008, the concert has provided a stage for Naga artists to showcase their musical prowess to a global audience.

Organized by the Rattle and Hum Society, Nagaland, the concert was envisioned to promote Naga music and culture to the world. In a conversation with the Morung Express, Theja Meru, a key member of the society stated that the event is a celebration of friendship and camaraderie through music. This year’s edition of the event is organized under the theme “Bringing people closer, one handshake at a time.” The event will be held as a part of the larger Jakarta Festival, which is an annual event in Indonesia.

Meru exclaimed that the Indonesians love for music and culture would provide a fitting venue for the concert.
He informed that a total of 20 to 25 Naga artists would perform at the event. Commenting on the dilemma of finalizing the list, Meru stated that the participants would be chosen on the basis of their musical achievements and contributions to Naga music.

Meru informed that representatives from the Rattle and Hum Society had met members of the Gedung Kesenian in Jakarta on April 5 to hold discussions on the event. He further expressed gratitude to Aosenla Jennifer Pongen, Associate Refugee Status Discrimination Officer for the UNHCR in Jakarta, who played a vital role in making the event in Jakarta possible.

Meru said that this year’s event would include an exhibition of Naga culture. He stated that a stage would be provided to showcase Naga traditional items. This, he termed as an opportunity to promote Naga culture and tradition to the outside world.

The idea of the Friendship Concert originated with the NE Music Festival organized by the Rattle and Hum Society under the tutelage of the NEZCC in 2008. Since then, the annual event has been held at Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Bangkok. It must be noted that the Mumbai edition in 2009 was held in partnership with Rolling Stones Magazine. Meru also informed that the first international edition of the event in Bangkok was organized with partnership from the Ministry of Commerce and Trade, Thailand and the Nagaland Government.

In a world filled with cultural divisions, the Friendship Concert presents an avenue for Naga musicians to act as global ambassadors for Naga culture.