BamHum – a bamboo wind musical instrument

Name : Moa Subong69415_innovator

District & State :  Dimapur, Nagaland

Category : Utility

Award :   National

Award Function :   9th National Grassroots Innovation Awards

Award Year : 2017

Innovator Profile

63505_innovationMoa Subong (56) is a musician who has developed a musical instrument called BamHum, which is a new wind musical instrument made out of a bamboo. The name BamHum is derived from the two words, bamboo and humming. Playing the BamHum is simple, which is to simply hum a tune into the hum hole, which produces a melodic tune.

Moa composes originals, he sings and plays the guitar, the harmonica, the BamHum and the Tikzik (also invented by him). He has tried his hands as an actor, sportsman, audio and video editor and is an inventor of two versatile musical instruments. He along with his wife Arenla M. Subong founded the band Abiogenesis and developed a new world music genre called Howey, which is a fusion of modern rhythm with Naga folk tunes. Guru Arenla M. Subong is a well-known singer, musician, dramatist, script writer, composer and choreographer in Nagaland. Arenla is the vocalist and the lead BamHum player in Abiogenesis.

The seeds of Abiogenesis got sowed decades ago when Arenla and Moa met for the first time in Mokokchung. As teenagers involved in a rock band, they very soon fell in love, got married and by 23 years of age, were a family of 5 with 3 sons. Music remained an integral part of their lives and many years later, they decided to assemble their own band, the Abiogenesis, which is a folk-fusion act from Nagaland that creates indigenous and tribal music in the most exotic way. They do both vocals and instruments with the lyrics being in English. Every song has a meaning and Arenla, the lead narrates and explains the untold stories from Nagaland. Comprising talented Naga musicians, Abiogenesis mines the essence of oral narratives passed down through generations. In a time where western story telling is dominant, Abiogenesis retells Naga folklores. Their act is not only entertaining but also a learning experience.

The term ‘Abiogenesis’ means to reactivate dead cells and the evolution of life from lifeless matter. During the early 90s northeast was crippled by drug exploitation by youth. Abiogenesis wanted to preserve the tribal ethos and rescue such youth through their soulful music. The youth are more inclined towards western music and Abiogenesis wanted to bridge a gap between modern music and Naga folklores. Initially a rock band, Abiogenesis was assigned to create an album on HIV by Nagaland State AIDS Control Society (NSACS) in 2002. This was followed by a feature film (‘Big Time Buddies’) on the same issue, which was written and directed by Arenla in 2003. They were also assigned to create an album for health awareness by the State Department of Health and Family Welfare in 2004.

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