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Tue, 07 Apr 2020

Northeast Today

The Extra in his Ordinary; Few chapters from a musician ’s journal

The Extra in his Ordinary; Few chapters from a musician ’s journal
February 25
14:09 2020

Shazia Hazarika

Talent and passion has a thunderous companionship. But if it’s in something that invites a lot of struggle, people tend to keep it at bay and tag it as a “hobby”. Some lose interest, some subdue their inkling and others simply were never encouraged. After we reach a certain age, many of us are forced into career paths just because it is tried and tested. Those dreams never had a tiny chance, did they? But what happens when one follows their heart? Takes the chance? Let’s glance at such a story of Haniel Reuel Kharlukhi .

Born and raised in Shillong, Haniel Reuel Kharlukhi, has loved music as a hobby, as a passion and now as a career itself. At a young age of 25, Haniel is already on a path of steady success, achieving one dream at a time. Ever since his childhood, he has been wonderfully exposed to the different genres of music, from classical to modern contemporary,as he belonged to a family of musicians.

As years passed and the dreaded time of choosing a career path came into view, destiny intervened.

“I actually wanted to study history as my Major but one day something happened, it might sound funny but whilst simply listening to my playlist, my decision changed. Music had made a permanent place in my soul. That exact moment I decided to study music. I wanted to study and practice music to touch people’s hearts the same way music had touched me.”

Thus, started Haniel’s journey of a professional musician. He has completed his graduation and post graduation in Music and is pursuing his PhD in Martin Luther Christian University, Shillong. Haniel remains grateful to his parents in this regard; it was one of the most crucial decisions he had made in life and if not for his parents’ support, he says, never would have made it this far. Over these years, Haniel has achieved his fair share of glory. In 2019 itself, he was accoladed with the Young Talented Artist Award 2018-2019 in the Field of Folk Music (Duitara) from the North East Zone Cultural Centre (NEZCC) by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, also had received the Maitshaphrang Award 2019 by the Khasi Students Union (KSU), Mawlai Circle.
Every musician reaches a point in life where they find their own rhythm and tune, something which defines their aura. Haniel has his roots sown in the traditions of khasi culture, due to which, even though he had experimented various and unique genres of music, he found himself drawn eventually back to his roots. Haniel’s compositions have been an attempt at his experimentation with Khasi traditional music and a twist of other musical genres of the world. He wishes to compose music that is yet unexplored.
Not too long ago, Haniel made his Youtube debut by launching his very first instrumental. Titled “Rhythm”, a piece composed and arranged by him, its composition is based on western rhythms and beats accompanied by Khasi traditional instruments. Haniel usually draws inspiration from his own life experiences. Haniel released his second instrumental titled “Year to Year” soon after. This piece is poetry in itself. It’s an ode to his parents. What we witness in the music video is his love and gratefulness towards his parents, where the duitara represents his father, the mandolin his mother and the guitar represents him. The transition of the three different instruments is done masterfully accompanied with the perfect essence of nostalgia.

Northeast India has its own treasure trove of excellent musicians who perform regionally, nationally as well as internationally. In this age where New Media rules over our daily lives, artists have a better opportunity to distribute and promote their works on a larger scale. On asking Haniel about his opinion on whether the northeast musicians receive as much exposure as the musicians from the rest of the country, he said he personally has seen many regional artists perform in and around the region and country as well as in various music festivals. “Just to name a few bands and artists of Meghalaya such as Soulmate, Snow White, Summersalt, K-bloodz, Blue Temptation, Dewdrops have been performing in and around the country. I strongly believe that it’s their sheer dedication, perseverance, patience and hard work which have paid off.”

In the present situation with the anti-CAA protests going about everywhere, we have seen many Assamese musicians take to the streets serenading the protestors. Music is of course one of the most powerful expressions out there. Like Haniel, it has touched many young people and put them into the path of self-expression. Music indeed is revolutionary.

“Liepmann Klaus has defined Music as a universal language. If words don’t speak music does. Music can bring people together as it crosses all cultural barriers. Thus, people learn to appreciate each other’s culture and roots and also get a sense of belonging and most importantly the unity of being a community as a whole. Thus, music definitely has the power to bring about changes in difficult situations like the ones we are facing at the moment,” Haniel said.

Henri Matisse had said “Creativity needs courage”, one needs to take risks, especially on roads less travelled by. But no matter how brave one gets, one pat of encouragement goes a long way. In Haniel’s case, his family’s support meant a lot to him. It is what propelled him into his career, steps towards which he then took without wobbling. Now at present, Haniel would like to focus on his academics, continue releasing his compositions, taking khasi traditional music to greater heights with the love and support of his fellow musicians and last but never the least perform his heart out.


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