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Dimapur fusion act Purple Fusion release debut album “Folk Reminiscence”

The 10-track album is a tribute to their home state and blends Naga folk chants with jazz, blues and rock

Rolling Stone India Sep 02, 2014
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Purple Fusion | Photo Credit: Rokovor Vehienuo

Purple Fusion | Photo Credit: Rokovor Vehienuo

Over the last two years, Nagaland-based fusion band Purple Fusion have contributed music to a documentary film called Songs of the Blue Hills and worked with Grammy winning American singer John Schlitt of the gospel rock band, Petra. But before Purple Fusion became the powerhouse band that it is now, it was a solo instrumental project set up by bassist/composer Mhathung Odyuo. Says Odyuo, “We wanted to do something that was fresh and unique, and the only possible option was to mix traditional Naga music with western jams.”

Formed in 2012 and comprising Imsanger Longkumer on guitar, Temsu Kichu on drums, Lamtsala Sangtam on vocals and Odyuo, the band combines Naga folk chants with contemporary jazz, blues and rock. Encouraged by the success of their single “Tring Tring – Marks of War” which was featured on VH1 India and MTV India in 2013, the band began work on their debut album Folk Reminiscence. Drawing inspiration from artists that range from blues legend Muddy Waters to rock icons such as Janis Joplin, Purple Fusion blends western genres with the music of their ancestors ”“ showcasing stories of headhunters, war and victory. Contrasted by easy melodies and textured riffs, Sangtam’s vocals are a maelstrom of raw energy. Says Sangtam, “Our manner of speaking sounds is like singing, so our chants have become songs. We experiment with the songs of our ancestors, and we fuse it with genres that we like.” The 10-track Folk Reminiscence was written in English, Hindi and local Naga languages and features songs such as “Nakhe Nakhe,” “Ho Hey! You Came Along” and “Longmi Khi.”

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The band who have been touring extensively across India over the last year, plan to add a few international gigs in Asia to their roster in the near future, but like their music suggests, they want to begin where it all started. Says Odyuo, “In Dimapur particularly, people are starting to accept music other than rock and metal and are realizing that they need to expand their musical boundaries. Opportunities are opening up and we’re glad that we’ve chosen this path.”

 

Listen to Purple Fusion’s “Tring Tring – Marks of War:”

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