Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

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Eyoom the Band performing at a concert

Interview: Language of Music is Universal

Exclusive interview with ‘Eyoom’ lead singer Bronson Khumukcham on World Music Day.

This ‘World Music Day’, I got a chance to interview ‘Eyoom’’s lead singer Bronson Khumukcham. ‘Eyoom’ means home in Meiteilon. Eyoom is a home-grown music band which is of the genre of Alternative and Indie. They sing in Meiteilon and are popular among the youth of Manipur. ‘Eyoom’ is a Manipuri music band and here is the excerpt from the exclusive interview with its lead singer, Bronson Khumukcham. Other band members of ‘Eyoom’ are Prasant Ningthoujam, Vishal Ngairangbam, Avinash Thounaojam, Kenny Khoirom and Reagan Yumnam. ‘Eyoom’ s songs include ‘Kouramge’ (from ‘Eidi Ethantani’, 2017), ‘Kaplanu’ (from ‘Eidi Ethantani’, 2017), ‘Nangtani’ (from ‘Eidi Ethantani’, 2017), ‘Pirang’ (from ‘Eidi Ethantani’, 2017), ‘Ahing Ama’ (from ‘Eidi Ethantani’, 2017), ‘Eshei’ (EP), ‘Manglan Gi Taibang’ (EP), ‘Mamla Wakhal’ (EP) and ‘Waridi’ (EP).

Lakshmi: Can you tell us about ‘Eyoom’, the band and how the journey began? What inspired you to start this band and what has been your journey like?

Bronson Khumukcham: It all started when I wrote my first song in 2010 and started making music with my then worn-out acoustic guitar… I had a bunch of unfinished songs at hand which were unproduced then…I decided to find some musician friends to bring life to my lyrics… I approached my friends Prasant and Seonath-the guitarists and the co-founding members of ‘Eyoom’…Along with them, we started this journey around 2015. We began to jam at my place along with another friend of ours, Sumit S who is our band’s percussionist and that’s how ‘Eyoom’ was born. Later on, Vishal joined as a keyboardist and as a recording engineer.We produced our first EP – “ Eidee Ethantani” in 2017. Unfortunately, Seonath and Sumit S had to part ways with the band due to personal commitments and responsibilities. Later on, Avinash and Kenny joined as members respectively on guitar and bass in 2018 and Reagan plays drums and he joined since 2021. ‘Eyoom’ is nine years old now and we have released two EP s and a demo single so far… Over the years, we have performed in various music festivals and concerts held in Manipur. We also got the opportunity to perform in Delhi in 2017. Apart from the work for ‘Eyoom’, I have had the honor to work with several artists in Manipur. I am currently working on this project called “Mondrang Project” with my good friend, Kumarjit Kuirem (guitarist of another Manipuri band called ‘The Koi’ since 2010). We have been working on this project since 2020. Through our journey as musicians, we have experienced many highs and lows…But we always strive to keep learning with any new experiences and opportunities that come our way even though sometimes it becomes very challenging to dedicate our full time to it due to personal and financial obligations as individuals outside of the band. Regardless of the hurdles, we still try and make time to come together and remain committed to making music whenever we can.

Lakshmi: Have you always loved to sing? Who have been your inspiration?

Bronson Khumukcham: Yes… I have always loved to sing and I have been singing from a very young age. As far as I can recall, I have been singing…following my father’s lead at home as he used to like playing music at home and singing around the house while I was growing up. That was my initial introduction to music in my life. Eventually, I started to participate in school events where I performed music and sang too. I was part of a band that sang cover songs in my 20’s for a while before ‘Eyoom’ came into fruition. My journey as a musician and the realities… and the struggle of life…have not always been aligned. There were several points in my life in the past when I thought that it would be better to end the pursuit of music but I kept holding on and I kept moving ahead with it and I haven’t looked back since. I have decided to express the joys and struggles of mine and life in general through my music and I put it out there in the world as a way of narrating my story.

As for who has inspired me as an artiste, I don’t think I can name anyone in particular because there are too many of them… From when I could comprehend and appreciate listening to songs as a child until now…through the years…the types of songs, musicians, genres I gravitate towards and my music taste in general have changed and evolved and I believe that it will keep evolving in the future too…Every artiste whom I have come across has inspired me in one way or another…maybe it is their music style or work ethic or just them as people. So, it feels like it would be a dishonor to name only a few. As for the inspiration for creating music, it comes from the emotions I feel whenever I am writing songs which includes anything and everything around me. It could be the people I interact with, my environment, things I read, music I listen to, birds, clouds, rainbows, rain etc. All the songs I have written are reflections of my life experiences, joys, struggles, adventures, sorrows, loves, heartbreaks. Everything that leaves an impact on me at a particular moment in my life inspire me.

Lakshmi: Has the current crisis in Manipur affected your work as a musician?

Bronson Khumukcham: The last time we played in front of an audience was on 14 April 2023. It was the day of Cheiraoba (Manipuri New Year). Three shows that were scheduled before the commencement of the current unrest were cancelled due to the gravity of the situation. Seeing the evictions, abductions and killings of people in our state…we ceased all jamming and recording activities. We too are gravely affected by these adverse state affairs that we find ourselves in today, but we shall not discontinue creating music. Almost every artiste I encounter nowadays is silently striving through these difficult times.

Eyoom ablum cover

Lakshmi: What does it mean to make music in conflict ridden Manipur?

Bronson Khumukcham: A you know, the audience of independent music scene is limited in general and even more so in the already small populace of Manipuri-speaking people. It is our passion to make music and its positive impact on the few people who listen to our music inspire us to continue making music. But, the conflict-ridden nature of the past year has truly been challenging on top of the already tough conditions that we must endure even in peaceful times. We have suffered equally as everyone in these uncertain and chaotic times. Trying to create music amidst this disorder has been a transformative experience. We have been working on our third EP which we plan on releasing later of this year (2024). For me, making music brings a sense of peace and calm.

Lakshmi: Do you have any message for the people of Manipur?

Bronson Khumukchum: The conflict has affected everyone living in the state. Let us learn from this incident and work together to restore peace and harmony. I would also like to say that music entertains but it is much more. In this age of limitless internet connectivity, we should see music as an art form as a means to disseminate our culture to the farthest corners of the world and support one another in these precarious times. To do this, we should understand that art originates from the paradoxical need for freedom and acceptance and can thrive only when there is complete freedom in the artistic process.

1 thought on “Interview: Language of Music is Universal”

  1. Nongmaithem Romio Singh

    Wish you all the very best . May all your future endeavours be fulfilled with flying colours. May almighty bless you ang give the courage to preserve culture and ethos of Manipur. Yaifare

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