Jun 21, 2010

The Tetseo Sisters: Native Tunes

Alright, here is a bunch of terrifyingly gorgeous Naga girls the Tetseo Sisters. Azi Tetseo Mercy Tetseo, Kuvelii Tetseo and Aliine Tetseo (I’m still trying wrap my intelligence around the profuse ‘I’s in their names.) To be very frank they are a total distraction: You have four eye-poppers in front of you and you believe it is their folk music you are listening to? Go find a job, you unprincipled creep.

Yet, their looks – for all possible purpose – will most probably distract you from the inspiring folk (sometimes adapted to suit the contemporary) music they play. But one brownie I’ll hand them is their dedication to an art few Naga youth can actually carry off without sweating buckets (or flashing an embarrassed blush or two) – that they actually play Chakhesang folk music (or so-called “local” tunes). In a state as Nagaland where anything Japanese, this American or that Korean is a byword to survive with, you really won’t come across many Naga musicians who sing in native tongues – leave alone proper folk music. Or in this case, in Chakhesang /Tenyidie dialect.

(International readers, please note: In Nagaland, anything “local” (also Bosti or Bostiness ) usually denotes something which, for instance, Americans would naturally see as indigenous but to the average Naga it means you are, well, totally not cool and totally not happening and totally Bosti).

I simply wonder why in Nagaland there are only a few modern, urbane, suave and chic persons plucky enough to not get lost in the Korean or American traffic (Bad hairstyling and burgers are bad enough, for goodness sake).

Anyway, the Tetseo Sisters are familiar faces in Nagaland’s music circuit. Dressed in traditional Chakhesang finery, armed with what-do-you-call-those-strange-guitarlike- things (anyone familiar with the instrument, please do leave me a comment), the group is a delight (no, dingbat, I don’t mean their looks this time). I have seen some of their performances and a few on TV. What they sang about or in what tongue, I can only endure my ignorance and haplessness in not knowing. But the sisters have some of the most dulcet voices I’d ever heard. While, I have yet to come across an album from them, I do know with the kind of voice they have, these chicks can offer good competition. Azi Tetsoe also seems to be some sort of a rock chick (read Hornbill Rock Concert or Music Safari) when not with her sisters.

Anyway, I am told the four have been playing folk music since childhood. The experience shows, naturally: the poise, easy confidence and spontaneous expression and connection with the songs they sing. You can tell the vibe that the Tetseo Sisters are in command of their stuff. The major time Handshake Concert in Delhi on June 21, 2010, was just one city in the extensive list of places they have played in. Considering their presence in the Media, I have a faint idea they have played in every place in between Kohima and Bangkok on the Map.

(Photo credit: Rattle & Hum Media handout)

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  1. Thank you Al Ngullie. You are very kind.
    We are humbled by the support.

    The instrument we play is called the "Tati".
    The one's we are holding in the photograph is the "Heka Lib├╝h" or "Heka Tati", an improvisation we made using horns instead of the delicate dried gourd.

    Do visit us at http://www.facebook.com/Tetseos or http://tetseosisters.blogspot.com/

  2. Hi The Tetseo sisters, thank you. Thank you for visiting and yes for the update on the instruments. If I make a record on day, I'll certainly use the Tatis. Their sound is extremely refreshing not to mention exceedingly haunting. Keep playing, Keeping playing.

  3. Wow! They r so pretty :) looks like thy cn relly sing as pretty :) :)

  4. u're focusing only on the looks, Al, but we girls are like tat nah :P

  5. ..LOLL! al, teh way U just describd them sounds lyk Ur hots for one of em hehehe but we'girls r Hawtt!! :P

  6. if at all i can grab an album of theirs. Folk music is great and it is in us except that we are carried away by the so called popular culture. You girls are doing great.

  7. they really are beauty on hills hope so their voice too can i get the email of 3 gal from left

  8. wow wow my allocade to both the parties the tetseo sisters and the writer .regarding the sisters heard of them last year and saw them up close this year during the hornbill festival 2012.and i should say have fallen for u folk and are the right ambassador of north east and nagaland in particular.keep goin gals and nice and good writing mr ngullie