Importance of being U Rangdajied

alt-space notes
On the phone with Snow White. They haltingly try talking of the album. We are Rangdajied… Confused, frustrated, angry… modern tribal youth caught between tradition and modernity… rock expresses confusion and counterpoints Ksing and all the traditional instruments… our music is not for or about the polished classes (I like the phrase)…it is a sandwich with ktung rymbai…dscn0695.jpg
U Rangdajied by Snow White is one of the most thoughtful, challenging and subversive albums Shillong has heard. Its brilliance and subversion lies not in its music (it is original enough to thump your head in) or its lyrics (they are complex enough to think your head in) but in its cultural significance. It is one of the first sustained conceptual musical intervention in the cultural politics of our land. Its epic ambition are not just about an album of original songs, but songs which speak of and speak to our times, in a voice which belongs to all of dissenting us. Along with, Scary Truth by that Mythical band The Ceremony and Shillong by Soulmate, U Rangdajied, will be remembered for a long time for its audacious re-invigoration of cultural practice of Shillong and that too in the language of the People- Khasi.dscn0694.jpg
The photocopy mode of Shillong’s cultural practice, whether they are variants of Rock or what cons itself as classical, Shillong seems to have become comfortable in its inbred elite snobbery of ignorance. We take stupid pride in our pitch perfect nth time rendition of pop Mozart, Kal Ho Na Ho or RATM. Culture, which is about creativity and meaning in a living way, not as it has been in Shillong- a ritual celebrating the privilege of the dead and boring. The situation is not surprising. In every society, the elites or the guardians of faith and taste, have always tried to brainwash the masses into thinking that there is only one culture, one taste, one jaitbynriew and anyone or anything which escapes the limits imposed by the guardians of faith and taste is by definition troublesome and inauthentic.

A Khasi album which shatters U Blei / Pyrthei cliché of contemporary Khasi music (ignoring the linguistic genius of E. Sun), Snow White deconstructs the rhythms of the contemporary and the traditional with an incisive political wit. This innovation is not limited to a narrow linguistic domain but brings the raucous energies and despairing frustrations of the streets onto our Audio systems. They speak of history and they speak of biographies. They contemporise the myths and they mythologise the contemporary. Maybe the rock quartet of Donboklang Ryntathiang, Jimmy Massar, Manfulson Lyngdoh and Timmy Kharhujon (With Balajied Sing Marbaniang on Ksing Thap and Qualbetus Blah on Bom ) have hurled a musical petrol bomb through the smug cultural stupor of our city. A cultural stupor, which stupidly mistakes the number of cars parked in front of an auditorium (and Burom sitting inside) with the quality of Music.
But maybe, petrol bomb is a banal metaphor for what or who is U Rangdajied. U Rangdajied is an epic narrative in both structure and description. It is an epic, not in an ancient way, but in the way it particularizes a universal situation. Its epic intentions lie in the way Snow White signposts a living myth for us to live and struggle by. The songs act as clues in the life and times of U Rangdajied. He is nobody and by his very situation of anonymous angst becomes chosen as everybody. Being forced to the margins as only the underclasses of our times can feel, he can either live the life of meaningless journeys in one way street or exercise the freedom he has been condemned to. His life, not of Platinums or Cloud Nine or Cloistered Choirs can only take significance in an active struggle against the absurdity which the guardians of faith and taste, fate him to. This struggle is not pop romantic struggle within himself or his love but traverses both private and political and doing so liberates itself from the confines of the mundane and obvious. He profanes Ki ‘Lei San Snem (Gods of Five Years) with Ka Um Ksiar Um Rupa (Gold & Silver Water). It is the ease with which they invoke the language of tradition to critique the present that endows U Rangdajied with a cult status, cult not in a minor way but in a way shamans chant their spirits.
Go on, buy the album, you will be conversing/communing with our times.



26 Responses

  1. I agree that a a petrol bomb needs to be hurled to shake Shillong out of its cultural stupor but i disagree with the choice of band that you’ve credited this noble act to. Snow White is nothing but a hangover from the metal of the late 80s and early 90s and having found themselves directionless in our times decided to bang on some traditional snares. They sold quite a few copies, good for them. But that was their intention all along.

    ‘Conversing/communing with our times’, only if our times stand for nothing else but compromise solutions(to steal a phrase from real street fighting men). U Rangdajied is plainly and simply the ‘Manowarization'(ask Snow White, its a band they owe all their ideas to) of Khasi Myth.

    If this album does anything for subversion and brilliance at all, it is by allowing the ‘buroms'(nice one) to co opt and sanitise them with the mire of mediocrity that along with Snow White they can claim for their own.

  2. I think its someone like you “Rangdajied” who could suggest the best choice inorder to shake this so – called The Rock Capital of India yet not to forget bitter suggestions whereby better intensions can be made known.

  3. it’d b better if u listen 2 d album ‘u rangdajied’ first.. By d way.. I know d members personally and none of them listen 2 manowar.. I don’t even think der’s any manowarization. It’s just dat timmy can sing high pitched notes dats all.. 4 dat matter, wats wrong in using myths 2 exemplify n bring out d true picture of who we are? By the way, how many of u hav even bought der album? Perhaps, not.

  4. at least dey still bang on tradition unlike most of us who don’t even hav any sense of tradition.. A man without a sense of tradition n history has no roots n is lost.. Bob marley said ‘ som people r branches n som r leaves, but i am da roots’.. Ur past experiences dictate ur present actions n ur present decides ur future.. But dat depends on wat u r n wat u can do or cannot.. Anyway, chill man.. Just buy d album n if u don’t like it den throw it away.. Do it instead of spending money on everything dat doesn’t make u think.. At least dis 1 has made u think n has brought out d critic in u.. But i’m sure snow white wil take criticism as another way 2 c der faults n inabilities.. Guys like u make dem think.. Keep it up. Ur doing a gud job..

    • 1.hmmm ironically you quote marley..wonder which “shnong” he is from.
      2.also i’ll just burn a copy of the album and if i don’t like it then ill throw it money that ways no??
      3.i don’t buy much but i still think..weird no? buying = thinking???or is it the other way round??
      4.yes i sure hope they think and change that horse sounding guitar…and the drummer too..think they’re cloning one in one of the guitarists house.
      some people like to pyn “pra ka iing ki Blei” i just like to sort out whats going on ha ka sla pyrthei.

  5. i know snow white is not even close 2 d best bands we have.. I’ve told dem dat too.. Dey need more skills.. It wud b better if we encourage bands like adremelech n project blend.. Dats 4 us.. But 4 d common rockers it wud suffice if dey eat wat common bands, i mean less skilled bands, cook….

    • yes very true and at the same time not be able to understand what they’re singing or as you might say growling ym dei?? but its alright the guitarist is very fast on the fret board no? bit leh.after all what does it matter about what they sing about..lah pluh ka fret board, lah kyrhuh ka drums lah biang mo?

  6. Haa…Jim the drummer was my college mate…..he use to sit next to me….I use to give proxy for him…dude and I could never stand his hangovers…:)

    • hmmm probably explains a lot now.

    • Probably you must have been quite a friend to him, ha!!!!!! Turned out that you love to skin your friends alive by embarrassing them with unfriendly comments in a public space. You should have told him that. But you wouldn’t. JImmy is a great dude. Since you are an expert in giving proxy, as such i hereby conclude that your comments about Jimmy is “Proxy”.

      I thought this space is meant for comments, etc pertaining to Music and not about People’s personal lives!!!!!!!

  7. I’ll be back to say some more …hang on

    • If you have comments that are detrimental to a person’s character then “it would be better for you” to stop posting such comments. No one wants to listen to a coward who doesn’t have the guts to say things straight in the face.

    • I thought this is a space for comments, observations on music, shillong’s bands. Leave this character-assassination stuff. Let’s talk more about Shillong’s bands. Shillong has many other bands that are capable of making a big impact on the world music scene. Long live music. Leave this character-assassination stuff!!!!!

      • On a more MATURE and CALM note: Leave this character-assassination stuff. Your band or artist preference or non-preference is your choice, your right.. That’s accepted man. But i beg you to cut out this detrimental comment on a person’s character.

      • Chill man…. You’re right man.. Lets talk music. Lets stop this character-assassination stuff. Long live music. Long live all the musicians in Shillong.

      • Chill man…. You’re right man.. Lets talk music. Lets stop this character-assassination stuff. Long live music. Long live all the musicians in Shillong.

  8. Snowhite iz d best asskickin rok band around.Hv u guys heard d progressive band 11th hour?1hell of a band!

  9. Snow White really worked hard…. appreciate ur efforts, U guys rock n keep rockin.

  10. mait shaphrang snow white……..

  11. appreciated, the support, criticism, wow u guys made us think 2!, wonder what ever we contributed to our society is just a needle in the hay stack. We talk about a lot of whats happening in the west, whats beyond our own culture and traditions, learnt so much about how things get done, so much so that we end up doing nothing of our own. if we do care about it also, that 2 won’t matter cos all this will disappear and perhaps just live and let die, is’nt not?. well as one of the member of the band, I believe that music the only medium for us as musicians to express whats is really happening around us, called it small but thats it all of us can contribute something to make us think about. Yes I agree it is another myth from the past, but there are certainty that even things of the past are still prevalent even to this very day. For example, look at our own country India ” the gr8 Demo-crazy” eh!, well the system thats is still prevalent today is what took placed 60-70 years ago b4 the British rule- ” making money and distributing favours
    to relatives was not considered a perversion of power, it was the very
    rationale of power”. Yes today sixty years later, citizens wail that India
    is a lawless land where no rules are obeyed. There’s a lot to say, but u know its just words any, we can do nothing or do we even try through what ever medium we can? any way I better stop here cos it won’t do any good – deeds not words.
    We would like to thank each one of you for your feedback and we do hope that it’l make us think and we extend our best wishes to all other bands who are trying their best of efforts to let the music flow irrespective of any genre… keep it up people!!!

  12. ding ler to kynhun tiam khasi dkhar khasi tarik liah… facebook tarik.shillong

  13. ju kwah bodykad re to se…ba dih beit na bitol bad ba ai beit na dul

  14. to se bym don bodykad re…ba dih beit na bitol ba ai beit na dul

  15. you guys rock every show, the best band in shillong.


  17. Rest in peace Jimmy. we will miss you alot. you will be remembered always…

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