Preserving Heritage Through Music: Da Minot's 'Ri Shongpdeng Pyrthei' Hits the Airwaves

The Northeast Dialogue


Da Minot, a band hailing from Meghalaya, has released their latest song and music video titled "Ri Shongpdeng Pyrthei," translating to "Land at the Centre of the World" in Khasi. This evocative title pays homage to the rich cultural heritage of the Khasi-Jaintia hills. Released under the banner of Rynsan Records, the song delves into the origin story of the Hynñiewtrep Hynñiewskum, which means Seven Huts, Seven Families, who are revered as the ancestors of the region's indigenous people.


The composition of "Ri Shongpdeng Pyrthei" is a harmonious blend of traditional wisdom and contemporary music, reflecting the band's commitment to cultural preservation. The song emphasizes three foundational principles of Khasi-Jaintia culture: KAMAI ÏA KA HOK (Earn Righteousness), TIP KUR TIP KHA (Know your Matrilineal and Patrilineal relations), and TIP BRIEW TIP BLEI (Know and understand your Fellow Man to understand the Divine and the Self). Da Minot sees their work as a modest contribution to safeguarding what they regard as one of humanity's most valuable treasures.


The accompanying music video is a visual journey through the breathtaking landscapes of the region and features historical figures such as U Woh Kiang Nangbah and U Babu Jeebon Roy. It also highlights the Ka Chad Chiphiah dance, believed to be the first dance performed on Earth. Through these visual elements, the video underscores the importance of human interactions, the transmission of knowledge, and the enduring cultural values of the Khasi-Jaintia people.


While Da Minot composed and performed the music, they chose not to claim credit for the lyrics. According to the band, "the words and wisdom have always existed since the beginning of time and belong to the Hynñiewtrep." This reverence for their cultural heritage is evident in the lyrics, which draw from the rich oral literature of the Khasi community.


Released on June 21, World Music Day, the song and video aim to preserve the cultural identity of the Khasi-Jaintia people and foster a deeper understanding and respect for their traditions. The project is anchored in the phrase "Ïeid Ïalade bad Burom ïa jong Kiwei" (Love Yourself and Respect that of Others), encapsulating the band's message of mutual respect and self-love.


Da Minot's lineup includes Priyo Laloo on vocals and duitara, Hammarsing Kharhmar on electric guitar and bass, Dajied Sing Kharkongor on bom, ksiing kynthei, and shaker, Swissco Sunn on ksing shynrang, kynshaw, and padiah, Melvyn Kharumnuid on drums, and Marwan Rymbai on flute. The band also featured guest artists Joyfully Kharhunai and Synrop Shabong, who provided backing vocals.


With "Ri Shongpdeng Pyrthei," Da Minot hopes to ignite interest in indigenous knowledge and inspire new art forms rooted in local culture. Their music consistently draws from the rhythms, melodies, and wisdom of the land and its people, striving to keep the cultural flame alive for future generations.


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