May 1. 2012.
His Royal Highness, Prince Andrew, Duke of York came to visit Kohima in Nagaland for a day.
He was here for barely 6 hours but the preparations were on for atleast a week and involved more than a thousand people’s efforts. Well, Kohima put up a great show and the weather and flowers also cooperated. Especially with the azaleas in full bloom at the Kohima War Cemetary.
When we got a call last week to prepare for a performance in four days time for the Royal Guest, there was a rider which sent us into a tizzy. We were asked to add on a few more people to our team and so began last minute calls to get more artists to join us for the performance. The song had to be O Rhosi! as it was perfect for the occasion as well as the easiest tune to pick up for a performance at short notice with very less time to practice. To learn new Li is always challenging but a good song is a good song and it caught on pretty fast. After all we had really enthusiastic friends to help us out. Saturday was our first practice session and by late monday when we met for our final practice, the song was in great shape.
Tuesday morning, disaster struck. The event was preponed by half an hour and our reporting time was moved up by an hour and half. We were getting ready to dress up when according to the new timings, we should have been on stage performing. Phones buzzing, traffic jams conquered, wardrobe malfunctions solved and lo! we were at the venue and doing our soundcheck in time.
The lineup was six girls and four lads. We made quite an entry.
The stage was set, there was a festive buzz in the air and our pulses raced up a bit but the Tati’s twanged and our song started and we were in our comfort zone. Three briefings and microphones in place, we were served refreshments and we awaited our turn while observing the volume of activities in the green room.
Young men and women in full traditional finery for the traditional display and warriors all set for the war dance moving around to create a riot of colors and enthusiastic energy. The clink, clank and chink of jewellery, shields, daos and spears were deafening. In one of the greenrooms, a decorated spear nearly fell on a pretty girl enjoying her break. Whew!
|The only picture of our performance.
Unfortunately, we had our back to the bulk of the audience
as the Royal Guests were seated in front
and so, no pictures of us from the front 🙁
Finally, the moment of truth. The announcement for the audience to prepare for the arrival of HRH and we took our place in the appointed spots and waited. In five minutes, HRH arrived in his regal uniform accompanied by the Honorable Chief Minister of Nagaland and as they took their seats, we began our Li. Accompanied by Tatis and war cries, O Rhosi was presented and we filed out to a lovely sounding ovation from a 3000+ strong audience of students, officers and the Naga public. There were speeches and gifts made, couples representing the 16 major tribes were displayed followed by the War Dance by the Khiamungan troupe.
The Royal guests departed to other destinations and it was time to head home, put back our costumes in their boxes until the next show and say thank you to God and our lovely friends who helped us put up a great performance.
Here’s a giant ‘Thank you’ to Atolü Lohe, Sekhotalü Dawhuo, Vesülü Chüzho, Rasute Thopi, Thüpuzoto Tetseo, Vechizo Venyo and not forgetting Mhaseve Tetseo. Dad, Mom, Azi & Abe Nienu for the support and Vedevo for the tea 🙂 Hiyohey!