Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Musical Anthem for the 5th Meghalaya Games: A beat, A Symphony, A unison

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Playing to the beats of ‘Go, Play and Win’, Esha Chaudhuri examines the opus crafted for the recently concluded Meghalaya Games, 2024.

Music is the ultimate cementing factor to push one’s endurance while finishing the last lap during a competitive game or workout. For most athletes, music peaks performance, mentally alleviates one’s focus from fatigue and physical duress to channelise the performer’s attention to the finishing line. At sporting events, the dramatising of music, drumbeats and trumpets are accorded a prominent role for its signature composition and resounding feelings of energy and a bond with the players and audience. Similarly, the anthem, ‘Here We Play’ composed by Summersalt and NOKPANTE for the 5th Meghalaya Games prides itself as a unifying force eulogising the history and people of the state. In an endeavour to explore the length and breath of the anthem, Sunday Shillong delves into the musical verse and its reverberations among the people.

Composed in all three major languages of the state as well as English, the lyrics are straightforward emphasising on the virtues of sportsmanship – persistence, team spirit, courage pioneering towards the goal post but also accepting the outcome for victory or defeat. Speaking with Summersalt the band, they articulated, “Kit Shangpliang of Summersalt wrote the lyrics keeping in mind the equal linguistic spaces of all the three hills of Meghalaya. He started the song in English, then placed the first verse in Garo and the second verse in both Khasi (Sohra) and Pnar dialect. The rest of the song follows the state official language in English.”

Expressing his thoughts on the composition, President of the Meghalaya State Olympic Association (MSOA) and a member of the 5th Meghalaya Games organising committee, John F Kharshiing says, “Sports and Music are in the DNA of the people of Meghalaya, and to marry the two is a given appropriate collaboration. Music cuts across differences and upbringings and because arts and music are inclusive in nature, they are motivational, no doubt.”

Speaking on the selection of the two bands for the unique musical work, Kharshiing says, “Shillong-based Summersalt and Tura-based NOKPANTE were the primary choices, simply, because they play the music of the land and its people. They are not only at the popular front as we speak, but they are at the cultural front, equally representing the cultures of Meghalaya.”

The graphics in the video in the form of sketches depicting the array of sports orchestrated during the games with a monotonal colour scheme wears an unassuming appearance. Discussing the choice for the same witn Summersalt the band, its members elaborate, “The animation is simply meant for social media penetration, since the song was not designed for a music video but to last long enough to inspire sports people and the fraternity during the five days. Of course the sketches are also meant to inject creative value and style to attract the audience at first sight. Also, interesting visuals, earthy like in this case or not tend to leave a mark in the beholder/listener’s mind.”

Adding further, “We’ve left the creative edges to our creative team and there’s no specific reason behind the colour choice. And since the song’s working progress was not worked on a music-video mode, the lyrics video was crafted keeping in mind the need for the audience to delve into the lyrics, therefore, our creative team made it minimalistic yet stylised.”

The lyrics in the anthem, “Here we go, Here we play, Day and Night, Night and Day..” captures the undying spirit of athletes and the long hours of dedication and hard work towards perfecting the art of performance and excelling at it. Most often, none of this work is visible to the audience nor captured on camera but are long standing life values. On being asked how many times would the anthem be played during the course of events, Kharshiing informed, “The anthem was played umpteen number of times, during all medal ceremonies, captured and disseminated by social and mainstream media, so the public can connect with the ethos of the song. ‘Here we play’ has evidently left a mark, as people go back to their districts and towns remembering the sporting moment, win or otherwise, by remembering the song.”

Speaking with Competition Manager for Archery, Jag Prasad Thapa says, “The song has many languages in mixed combination. Players are motivated and get that push to play after listening to it. In fact, in between the competition, we often play the song to get them motivated.”

In conversation with Table Tennis player Vivek Hajong (17) on the anthem, he says, “The anthem is good. I was motivated to do my best. The music and lyrics were inspiring.”Hajong who is from Tetengkol, West Garo Hills played till the quarters.

Likewise, Lohtilyn Wankhar (26) from the discipline of wrestling says, “It’s a good song. We’d hear it every day in the morning and during breaks. It is vibrant and youthful.” Wankhar, a resident of Shillong has been training in MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) for 6-7 years. She has been living in Guwahati for the last 3 years for her training in Khanapara, has won Gold in wrestling in the Games.

In a brief exchange with District Sports Officer, West Garo Hills, Saljagring M Marak on his thoughts on the creation, he states, “I really like the melody. It is sung by beautiful voices, mesmerising with a unique style of singing and the song itself motivates the athletes to come forward, play and fly high by encouraging the youths to light up the games in Meghalaya.”

Summing up the intent behind the creation, members of Summersalt state, “Our songs are known to lean towards optimism and this time the drift was again intentional to stick to positivity, simply because we have seen that Meghalaya as a state has drowned too deep in pessimism. The song therefore captures the dreams of the people not only in sports but in all fields. So throughout the song certain words come across strongly like the words Hope, Victory, Winnability, Not afraid to lose and so on. Besides, the lyrics, the melody and the rhythm promotes a sense of togetherness and shared-pride, therefore, promoting unity of and as a state.”

In concluding thoughts, Kharshiing believes that the anthem has been an uplifting and unifying endeavour for the games. In his words, “The Anthem has been at the epicentre of the 5th Meghalaya Games 2024. The song has not only lifted the spirit of the games but created a sense of oneness among the sports people coming from diverse backgrounds and locations. This is another occasion where we can see sports and music come closer to augment each other. Such collaboration involving artistic household names from the Khasi and Garo hills, in the form of Summersalt and NOKPANTE is a purposeful endeavour.”

Played on repeat several times a day – morning, evening, in between sets and of course during the course of events, the real idea was to draw people together, invigorate and keep alive the spirit and honour of gamesmanship. All of this, crafted and materialised by the two bands, echoed by the players and the beholders.

The anthem can be heard on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qSYdNKMRiY

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