"Songs of Mashangva" world premiere in Germany
Provided by: Oinam Doren *
Songs of Mashangva, a 82 minute musical film produced & directed by Oinam Doren staring Rewben Mashangva, the father of Naga folk blues and his 9 year old son Saka Mashangva would have its world premiere at DOK Leipzig Germany on Tuesday 19.2010, Universum, 16.30 hrs and on Wednesday 20.2010, Cinémathèque in der naTo, 22.15hrs.
The festival reports that it received about 2,800 submissions from 97 different countries out of which about 300 films would be screened.
Dok Leipzig says about Songs of Mashangva, "It's always the same old story: what do Christian missionaries do when they invade indigenous cultures? They ban the old gods and everything that reminds people of them: songs, language, holidays, names. And they raise the threat of hell. The Tangkhul Naga in northeast India didn't fare any better than the tribes of South America in this respect. That disastrous missionary fervour destroyed a rich cultural heritage which in the case of the Tangkhul Naga spanned more than thousand years and is now threatened with final extinction. This is the background on which Indian filmmaker Oinam Doren looks at the work of his charismatic protagonist Rewben Mashangva, who travels through the remote villages of the Tangkhul Naga to talk to the old people and collect songs and instruments. The rhythms, melodies and lyrics form links to his own music, which he describes as Naga Folk Blues and uses to spread the message that there is no reason to be ashamed of one's own culture and regard Western culture as superior. But the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence – taking everything into account, he still has a long way to go."
Songs of Mashangva was shot for more than a year in various remote villages of Ukhrul district of Manipur, Rajasthan, Nagaland, Kolkatta, Shillong and in Imphal. The film had its all India premiere on 23rd August, 2010 in New Delhi. On 25th October 2010, Songs of Mashangva would have its Manipur premiere as the opening film of Asian Cinema Week in Imphal which is being organised by Mamikon.
"the past has just begun"
SONGS OF MASHANGVA
A production by OURVILLAGE FILMS
Produced with the support of NEZCC, MINISTRY OF CULTURE, GOVT. OF INDIA
A film by OINAM DOREN
Produced & Directed by OINAM DOREN
Duration: 72 min. 27sec (director's cut)
Format : dvcam
songs they are words
words they are songs
a history simply told in songs
Produced & directed by : OINAM DOREN
Music & vocals : REWBEN MASHANGVA
our consultant: NGACHONMI CHAMROY
Unit production manager : THOTNGAM SHIMRAH (ATHOD)
Editor : ROMI LAMABAM
Director of photography : OINAM DOREN
Sound recordist : SUNIL LOITONGBAM
Sound design : SHANKAR SAPAM
Translation consultant : RANJEETA SADOKPAM
Manipuri translation : SHREEMA NINGOMBAM
Rajasthani folk song translation : SHRUTI MUKHERJEE
Tangkhul translation : REWBEN MASHANGVA , NGACHONMI CHAMROY
Transportation : JACOB WUNGNAOWUNG , CHAN, AJAY SINGH
Our travel agent : SHINE TRAVELS
Assistants camera : RAWON NGAINGA, NABAM TADI, JOYCHANDRA, PRABIN
Production : JOYKUMAR KH, AYESHA LANGSTIEH
Assistant editor : RAJU DAS
Postproduction assistant : BOYNAO, TINKU DAS
Haircut/costume : JEROME LAIYAM
Weaver : CHONCHON
Folk singer in the field : KASOM MAHANGTHEI
Folk singers at Longpi village : M. NGAZEK, T.MAICHIN, S.VAREINGAM, SR. KHANGANG
Two women in Longpi village : THARMILA, HUIMILA SASA
Folk singers at Hundung village: RAMNGANING MK, MISHIVANA ML, LUIYOLA MK, HALINA MS, TABITHA KYS, EASTHER YS, PAKAHAO KYS, TUITINGLA ML, NINGMILA MK
Folk singers at Tongou village: NK LAYIK,AS AREITHEI
Phadharo hamara des (Rajasthani folk song): NENU RAM & GUDI, MEHRANGARH FORT
Saka Mashangva's friends: NGARIN, KHAYING JOJO, THOTDHAR, YUNGREISHON KAPING, RINWUNG RUIVAH
Shot on location: IMPHAL, KOHIMA, SHILLONG, KOLKATTA, JODHPUR, UKHRUL, CHOITHAR VILLAGE, LONGPI VILLAGE, LUNGHAR VILLAGE, HUNPUNG VILLAGE, HUNDUNG VILLAGE, TONGOU VILLAGE
Post-production: SHALLOW RIVER STUDIO
Songs recorded & mixed at: SHALLOW RIVER STUDIO, IMPHAL
Songs recorded & mixed by: SHANKAR SAPAM
All songs performed by: REWBEN MASHANGVA
Additional vocals: SAKA MASHANGVA, DHANASHREE (SAMMY)
Langdey (percussion): MICHAEL
Equipment rental: SHALLOW RIVER STUDIO, OURVILLAGE STUDIO, MAMI SAMKA
Our special thanks to: staff at NEZCC, ministry of culture, government of india.
RACHEL SHIMRAY (UKHRUL)
DIVYA BHATIA, festival director, Rajasthan international folk festival
MAHESH DEORI, regional director, Indian Chamber of Commerce
FOLK SINGERS, MEHRANGARH FORT, JODHPUR
ASKA & FAMILY (KOHIMA)
RANJAN PALLIT & VASUDHA (KOLKATTA)
WUNGNAM MASHANGVA, WUNGNANG SUI, (LONGPI VILLAGE)
L.W.MAYAR (LUNGHAR VILLAGE)
NG.MERCY , PHANINGSHANG (TONGOU VILLAGE)
Produced with the support of NEZCC, MINISTRY OF CULTURE, GOVT. OF INDIA
SONGS OF MASHANGVA
About the project: The film was shot for more than a year in Shillong, Kolkatta, Rajasthan, New Delhi, Imphal, Nagaland and a number of villages in Ukhrul and Chandel district of Manipur.
Synopsis: The Tangkhul Naga tribes reside in the hilly Ukhrul district of Manipur in the northeastern part of India bordering Myanmar. Ukhrul is made up of 230 villages with 165 different languages. The Tangkhul Nagas were originally animistic in their worship and superstitious, often wage war with the neighboring villages and habituated to the locally made alcohol called 'zu' and rice beer. But they had a 1000years old very rich folk music tradition for everyday activities, rituals and seasons including war.
In 1896, Rev William Pettigrew (1869-1943), an European missionary came to Ukhrul and opened a school for the natives with the intention of preaching the gospel of Christ. Along with the education, the pre-condition of baptism was that the natives have to disregard their old lifestyle including drinking and singing folk songs which was to be replaced with hymns and choirs.
The new entrant of European education and Christian life slowly killed the original customs and traditions of the Tangkhul Nagas which had an adverse affect on its folk music traditions. Now 100% of the natives are Christians and in culmination with the technological invasion of the West, folk music is completely non-existent among the younger generation. The few masters are either death or completely old and this rich original heritage would consequently fade away with their demise.
Rewben Mashangva, who himself is a Christian but with very less education and belonging to a carpenter's family becomes a cultural ambassador of the Tangkhul Nagas reminding everyone of their past with his brand of folk and Naga-folk blues, unique 'haokuirat' traditional hairstyle and costumes.
Rewben Mashangva, the protagonist of the film has about 17-18 years of folk music experience. The director of the film has about 5 years of association with him that makes research and preproduction of the film very easy. Most of the masters of Tangkhul Naga folk songs are either dead or the few left reside in remote villages of the hilly Ukhrul district untouched by proper roads or means of communication. Moreover no books or recordings of folk songs are available in the market or in libraries we know of. So basically it was very raw first hand data and song recordings we have collected in the process of our production.
About the arrival of European missionary William Petigrew in Ukhrul district, we got second hand information from sons whose fathers were student of the reverend. We were also lucky to find a book in a Christian literature outlet 'Forty years mission in Manipur – mission reports of Rev.William Pettigrew' in which the reverend has written in detail about his experience with the natives, i.e. the Tangkhul nagas.
The first and last sequence of the film are purely constructed. For this we had to go to a remote village called LONGPI which is also famous for its ethnic ceramic pottery. The roads are very bad, no electricity was available and we had a hard time persuading the old man to shave their hair in the old traditional style called 'haokuirat'. Of course we managed to bribe them with alcohol and money. One of the old artist named Ngazek who is 90 years old told us, after the hair cut his wife chased him away from the house saying it wasn't modern.
The first and last sequence are what we called 'the dreamy-nostalgic' sequence in which the old traditional lifestyle of the natives-the Tangkhul Nagas are revealed. We have two old ladies pounding rice in the old method in front of the old traditional house called 'haosym'. Only one house was left in the village and that too the rooftops were covered with old brownish aluminum tiles.
Then we have the old men in hunting costumes with spears going for hunting in the jungle while the two ladies work in the field.
In the evening as the old man return home, they sit by the fireplace and sings folk songs to each other by drinking rice beer from the clay pot with the help of a straw made of bamboo.
There is one scene in which a little boy pass by the silvery cloudy mountain riding a buffalo. For this we had to shave his hair in the old traditional 'haokuirat' hairstyle. His mom refused outrightly but after some hassles agreed to co-operate demanding a hefty sum of money. Early in the morning the next day, it was the buffalo who gave us a terrible time refusing to co-operate with the crew.
The 'dreamy-nostalgic' sequence also has dangerous honey bees walking up and down a path, buffalo heads hung in front of old houses, crafted wooden tribal motifs in the facade of the old traditional house 'haosym' depicting the order of the relationship between the Tangkhul-nagas and other living organisms, trees, mountains etc.
1)Rewben mashangva who is the main protagonist of the film. It is through him the journey of the film is made and completed. He will also tell us the present condition of tangkhul naga folk songs, his struggles to learn and promote them and new genres that has sprung up in the process.
3) Ngachonmi Chamroy
Former editor of a newspaper and now a social activist who writes all the English lyrics of Rewben and has indept knowledge of contemporary Tangkhul Naga society.
4) Keith Wallang
CEO of Springboard Surprises, an event manager and a cultural enthusiast who has been promoting Rewben since the last 2 years.
5) Rudy Wallang
Vocalist and one of the best blues guitar player in india with his own band Soulmate. He collaborated with Rewben on one project 'creation'.
6) K. Mahangthei
A pastor/music composer whose father was a student of European missionary Rev. William Pettigrew who opened a school in Ukhrul district in 1896 and brought Christianity to the natives. Mahangthei grew up with gospels and hymns. But as he travel around the villages preaching the gospel, he was smitten by the folktunes and learned the folk songs from the natives. He is a storehouse of folk songs. We made him sing 3 folk songs in his field one of them which will be used in the film.
One interesting fact he told us was some of the old men who wants to live the old lifestyle, drink and sing folk songs were refusing to come to the church. So he adapted the folk tunes and fit in gospel lyrics. He says after that the old man started coming to the church.
7) Shimthar Keishing
A very amusing character who sang a lot of folk songs for us. But we didn't used any due to space. Shimthar shares with us how the Christian missionaries used to lure them by scaring them about hell and assurance of heaven through christianity.
An intellectual who has written books on customery laws of the Tangkhul Nagas. A very reserved character in the beginning who started opening up like the petals of a lily. He gave us the best time of the film with folk songs (erotic ones too), amusing allegory, historical abstracts and wisdom.
Some of the major performances would be;
RIFF2009 (Rajasthan international folk festival ) in Jodhpur
Hornbill 2009 – the biggest tourism fest of the Nagas
Luiyuila (an old lady in Hundung village)
4 old men sings by a fireplace sipping rice beer depicting the customs of the past.
Rev. K Mahangthei sings 'luisi luisi' (miss you miss you) soulfull folk song in his green field
Stephen Agang sings 2 songs; a lullaby and an erotic folk
2 rajasthani folk songs in Mehrangarh Fort
Rewben plays yangkahui fute and folk fiddle tingteilla in front of 'haosym'-the old traditional house of the tangkhul nagas. It is juxtaposed with every exotic, stylish visuals.
And 3 very haunting 'Khamahon' (traditional chants) juxtaposed with dreamy visuals.
And of course 'our little' Saka Mashangva is always around singing or rehearsing with his dad.
Browse a Gallery of the India premiere, New Delhi - Part 1
Browse a Gallery of the India premiere, New Delhi - Part 2
Browse a Gallery of the India premiere, New Delhi - Part 3