The Tetseo Sisters, the vocal quartet from Nagaland, have been conferred the ninth Yamin Hazarika Woman of Substance Award for their contribution to promoting traditional and folk music at a function held in Guwahati recently.
The Tetseo Sisters Mütsevelü (Mercy), Azine (Azi), Kuvelü (Kuku) and Alüne (Lulu) grew up in Kohima and belong to the Chakhesang Naga, one of the major Naga ethnic groups. They sing in Chokri, the dialect of the region around Phek District.
From the early days, their parents acquainted the girls with Li, the traditional songs of their home region. Li is the Chokri Naga word for folk songs or songs of the people. The Chakhesangs have a huge repertoire of folk songs that have been compiled into a traditional songbook, Li kukre kutiko, that consists of 223 common songs. Most of the other songs have been handed down through oral tradition (much like any other Naga tribe) from generation to generation. There are Li for special events, love songs, children’s songs, laments, war songs and songs that are related to agriculture and its seasonal activities.
They first performed as a group in 1994 and have been making regular appearances since 2000 at the Hornbill Festival, Nagaland’s at several other festivals and events all over the world.
The award celebrates the life of the iconic woman named Yamin Hazarika, a 1977-batch DANIPS officer. Hazraika shattered many glass ceilings and her extraordinary life ignited many young minds. She had served the nation as DCP, Delhi Police and did a short stint with the UN Peacekeeping Force in Bosnia before she passed away at the age of 43 in 1999.
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The chief guest on the occasion was senior IPS officer, Harmeet Singh. And the guest of honour was Dr Poonam Dohutia, a bureaucrat based in Canada. A panel discussion on ‘Art as a therapeutic experience’ was also held on the occasion. The moderator was Reshma Shah and the panellists included Dr Nahid Islam, psychiatrist and Dr Asha Kuthari Chaudhuri of Gauhati University.
The event was anchored by Tinat Atifa Masood. The welcome speech was delivered by eminent educationist Nellie Ahmed, the journey of the award was described by senior journalist and author, Teresa Rehman. The awardees were introduced by senior journalist, Nasreen Habib.
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