Meghalaya’s arts and music enthralled Ho Chi Minh City, brought India & Vietnam closer

todayNovember 5, 2023 4

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If arts and music could make it fun and easy for the academic, business and trade exchange of two nations to reach fruition, Meghalaya could be at the forefront of all this. This was witnessed at the recently concluded 3rd edition North East Festival, held in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City from 27-29 October. The region’s contingent included government leaders, artistes, artisans and entrepreneurs who travelled and participated in the festival.

Such was the power of arts and music from the hills, that it immediately drew the venue’s attention. Cultural ambassadors from Shillong including folk-fusion outfit Summersalt, flautist Benedict Hynniewta and the music troupe of the Arts and Culture Department, Government of Meghalaya, represented by artistes from both the Khasi and Garo hills, performed outstandingly to draw the interest of the Vietnamese audience.

The Meghalaya team lead by Commissioner & Secretary, Department of Arts & Culture and Sericulture, Frederick R Kharkongor and driven by the indigenous music Summersalt, Ryndia-based fashion designer Iba Malai from Kiniho and Hasina Kharbhih of Impulse Empower, put up an internationally befitting show presenting the rich arts, music, culture, textile and beauty of the state.

The Hoikiw vibe of the Khasi hills took the venue by storm as the non-khasi speaking crowd tried their best to sing, drawing the energy of the Hoikiw moment to take over. Summersalt was at their best, belting out their key songs, including Kamai iaka Hok, Pyrkhat ko Khun, Mluh and some English original songs of theirs to connect with the eager audience. The foot-tapping music of the band summoned the engagement of the crowd that included both Indian and Vietnamese dignitaries and the Indian diaspora.

The cultural intricacies and affinities of the Vietnamese people and the northeastern states of India made it naturally possible for arts and music to pave way for deeper connection in terms of strategies and multi-discipline interfaces.

The festival marked the beginning of a momentous event that aims to strengthen the ties between India and Vietnam in the world of academics, trade, business, and culture. The festival opened its doors to a distinguished assembly of critical stakeholders, including ministers, union ministers, and entrepreneurs, hailing from both the nations.

The inaugural programme also witnessed the participation of several notable personalities and associations from various provinces in Vietnam, underscoring the significance of the event.

Key dignitaries present included Director General of the Department of External Relations, Tran Phuoc Anh in Ho Chi Minh City, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vietnam, and Nguyen Long Bien, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ninh Thuan Province, among others. This grand assembly, from both India and Vietnam, highlighted the collaborative spirit of the festival.

Adding to the vivacious atmosphere, renowned designers and brands from Meghalaya including Iba Mallai of “Kiniho” and Hasina Kharbhih under the brand “Impulse Empower” showcased their line of Ryndia-based designs on models of Vietnamese origin, creating a fusion of styles that celebrated the rich fabric of cultures.

Shyamkanu Mahanta, Chief Organiser of the North East India Festival, said, “We are immensely grateful for the overwhelming response from the local community and the staunch support from Vietnam’s stakeholders, local communities, and our representatives from India. The North East India Festival is in perfect alignment with the Indian government’s Act East policy. We engaged in fruitful discussions on education exchange programmes between India and Vietnam, as well as collaborative efforts in tourism. Talks are underway with stakeholders to establish direct flight routes between Vietnam and North East India.”

Dr. Madan Mohan Sethi, Consul General of India in Ho Chi Minh City, also shared his insights, stating “The Northeast India Festival has been an exceptional platform for distinguished figures from both India and Vietnam to engage in enriching dialogues. This event has not only strengthened the existing bonds between our nations but has also laid the foundation for even deeper collaboration in the future.”

The festival also featured the Incredible India Exhibition, showcasing the diverse destinations of India. Attendees had the opportunity to explore a dedicated textile zone, state-specific exhibition zones representing various northeastern states, and themes related to the Act East Policy, tea, industry, and tourism. Culinary enthusiasts relished the authentic delicacies of the North Eastern states.

Buoyed by this year’s success, the organisers eagerly look forward to an even bigger and more vibrant event next year, further cementing stronger bonds between the two countries and beyond. And if music should be the catalyst to propel the progress such international interface between Meghalaya and northeast with the rest of the world, the Hoikiw musical vibe that took Saigon by storm is evident to prove that Meghalaya’s indigenous arts and music are second to none.

-Special Correspondent

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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