Music from India
Genghuli by Kunjulal Gengkhuli
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RK DAT 76
On village community ground in front of the Chakma Autonomous District Council building, Kamalanagar, Mizoram.
After sunset around 7pm
Kunjulal Gengkhuli (singer, fiddle), Kunjulal (Western violin)
Chakma Gengkhuli ballad performed by Mr Kunjulal Gengkhuli. Gengkhuli are traditional balladeers and storytellers of the Chakma people settled in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (Bangladesh) and north-east India. Chakma language belongs to the north Indian language group. This Genghuli piece – a part of a long evening performance – is about the very recent Chakma history. It starts to explain how the Chakma Queen Kalindi Rani defies both the British rule and the Indian freedom struggle against the British rule. Then the singer recounts the story about the Chakma leader Raja Tridiv Roy. The balladeer moans that the Raja had given permission to build the Kaptai dam in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, blames the leader for losing half of the country, and siding with Pakistan in the Bengali Freedom struggle. Finally the ballad describes how Raja Tridiv Roy fled to Pakistan ‘leaving his people behind’. (translated by Subatra Chakma) Though the performance was specially arranged for recording purposes around 200 spectators gathered on the village square to listen to the performance. The singer and fiddle player Kunjulal Gengkhuli (around 45yrs) is a well-known Gengkhuli balladeer who lives in a remote village. Kunjulal plays a Western violin made in India which the Gengkhuli bards call bela. He holds his instrument like a Western violin, but uses only three strings. The original bela was once a one-stringed traditional instrument used by the Chakma balladeers.