Picking and honing down a Top 10 list is never easy, especially when the whole music scene is still grappling at a pretty snail-speed in the Northeastern states of India. Majorly due to the non-existence of organized chart rating parameters in the region, unlike what their global counterparts ruled in documenting the market moolahs, such as radio stations, music charts, music channels, record sales or database agencies. Nevertheless, the region is witnessing an array of indelible all girl bands emerging into the surface lately.
My list of ranking here is not to create a definitive “must-have” compendium of records to seize or one spectrum but to foster a chart based on their live shows, popularity and everyday fans. The bands appearing on the list might have stirred accusations of nepotism. Well, for that – so, I decided not to cross that line and have attempted to reconcile a cross-section of genres, which may not satisfy all readers. Everyone can scribble their own lists, or even better, jump-start bands and fanzines to keep the Do-It-Yourself ethos alive and well.
So, ladies, please start bands. Go girl power!
My first discovery about any all-female band from the Northeast region was the Kohima-based four member indie-punk outfits Quixotic (now disbanded), who might be probably the first all-girl rock band in the Northeast states. I read their reviews featured in the defunct monthly national journal- Rave Music Magazine in 2005.
Here is a list of my top female bands of the Northeast India.
#1. Tetseo Sisters
No doubt, they can be easily dubbed as one of the most popular musical groups from the region. The four sisters are the new cultural ambassadors of the Northeast with their repertoire naga folk genre “Li”, breaking barriers and boundaries. While lots of people think the proliferation of folk music isn’t always a good thing. I’ve always found it easier on the ears than the full-out stadium rock assault and every bit as powerful when in that mood.
Mercy, Azi, Kuvelü and Alüne (Lulu) Tetseo is often accompanied by the age old Naga one stringed instrument, the “Tati/Heka Libuh”.
Here’s one “seminal” female rock band from Shillong dubbed as one of the most beloved bands of Meghalaya. The band consists of Grace Miller (Vocals), Karen Donoghue (Guitars), Sharon Zadeng (Bass) and Mercy Miller (Drums). These four young ladies band began their blues influenced rock act in 2004, a journey that has had its share of hurdles, obstacles and constraints though the band has never lost sight of the one thread, one passion, one love that binds them together.
There is an enigmatic spirit within their rock and reggae mix that’s highlighted by a more than strange female bravado. Regardless of the tale, these girls came to rage. Not many, male or female, have ever raged better!
If you don’t think a keytar is the hyper coolest musical instrument, then you got the volatility for retro-rave nights of yore. The Vinyl Records (aka TVR), is a four piece girl band based in New Delhi that came together in Feb 2010. Banu, Minam and Mithy who all hail from Arunachal Pradesh, have always kicked everything quite conjured the same vein-bursting thrills including jamming and their stylistic sounds of indie and post punk with a dash of glam rock. Keytarist Cheyyrian Bark from Assam joined the line-up to take up the duty of vocals in 2011. The band got featured on MTV F1 Rocks 2011, and since then they have regularly appeared in many countless top journals including Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and Tehelka.
This loud and sparkling rock n ‘roll trio band was formed back in 2007. Based in Aizawl, Mizoram. The Apples is fronted by Zodingliani with her huskey-ish tone and retro-rock style and smirking off high-energy teen guitar wizardry. They had also covered the Mizo version of the 50’s hit “Stupid Cupid”, which got them the vacation to get louder and bolted themselves with more fanbase, also evoked bracing and inventive soundscapes.
#5. Minute of Decay
The sisters Worshon, Singchon and Thotyaphy Muivah from Manipur, formed the New Delhi based group in the late October 2011. The band name “Minute of Decay”, is usually shortened as MoD. This sibling act plays classic rock punctuated by a stylized pinch of contemporary vocals and alternative riffs – an obsession with sweet medleys.
#6. The Chosen
A bunch of six talented girls from Aizawl got together by their same love for music in 2009. They were the first Christian all female band from Mizoram. The band rise up to the Mizo music scene with their first single “Broken Wings”, later followed by “Kan fak a che (We praise you)”. The lead vocal Fiona Lalmalsawmi Pachuau won Special Award at MoonLight Awards 2011. The girls mainly sing in their native dialect – Mizo.
#7. Genesis of Pink
Formed in April 2013, this Gangtok based four member punk-rock outfit is a good choice if you are looking for an extra stomping grooves and inspired hooks in a whole package, as the band is teamed with an additional four member dance crew. The band consists of Mahima Apchunna Rai (vocal/guitar), Dechen Zangmu (lead guitar), Annies Pamo (Bass guitar) and Shrishti Rai (Keyboard). The girls has released two music videos “Who are you” and “Ka Bata” earlier this year.
Blue Corn, a pop trio is the most popular girl group of Mizoram. The group consists of Felicia Singson, Kim Kimi and Tlingi. In 2006, they released their music video “Lung Lawm A kim” from their debut album – Lunglawn Akim. The album enjoyed a lime-light success in Mizoram, Manipur and other parts of Northeast states.
#9. Hurricane Gals
In 2011, Assam’s first all-girl band was formed in a small village of Nahira, about 30 km off Guwahati. The band consists of Mamoni Kalita (lead vocalist), Arju Begum (drums), Kaberi Saikia (Dhol/Dotara), Mumpi Thakuria (Keyboard), Dikishita Kashyap (Bass Guitar), Ilene (guitar) and Bobby Hazarika (Percussion). Apart from headlining various festivals in their home state, this fusion-folk rock band has played an array of gigs hitting Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi and Ahmedabad as well.
Just a month old, this four piece pop band from Dimapur is an offspring of collective efforts punched by Mhonyamo Kikon and Meyi to introduce a catchy flavor of girl power into the Nagaland music scene. The band consists of Livika Swu (Vocals), Nukshinaro Imchen (Guitars), Vekutalu Swuro (Piano) and Onen (bass guitar).