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Sisir Kumar Suni, the unsung octogerian music maestro of undivided Darrang

Sisir Kumar Suni, the unsung octogerian music maestro of undivided Darrang

Sentinel Digital Desk

From Our Correspondent

TANGLA, March 16: In a tale of neglect and apathy of an unsung music maestro of undivided Darrang (presently Darrang, Udalguri and Sonitpur) district of Assam, Sisir Kumar Suni is now 85 years and is confined to the periphery of his home. He is still optimistic about systemic research and practice of traditiol folk culture of the state in their origil style. Although forgotten by present day singers and producer directors of Assamese cine and music industry, Suni still keeps himself engaged with his never ending musical activities in his home at sleepy Bengbari village, five kilometres away from Tangla town.

Age could have restricted his bodily movements, but his spirit and talent is still undaunted in search for new ventures. It was his maiden effort that Bodo folk dance 'Kherai' was performed on stage for the first time during 1955. 'Kherai' dance had never been performed on stage till then. He was also the first music director of Bodo modern song broadcast through All India Radio Guwahati in 1977. Sisir Suni will always be cherised as the founder of Bodo musical notation in Assam. He was the person involved with the book "Gwthang Denkhw" published in 1994. He also composed notation on Kamrupi Lokageet in a book "Sodomsri" published from Barama in 1995. Suni composed more than hundred songs which have already been published in books mely- 'Jaydhwani', 'Palas Phular Botarote','Denkwo Bidang','Gwdan Denkhwani Methai', 'Swrang Lama', 'Bodo Bhajan' etc. He composed Assamese Notation of modern songs, Jyoti Sangeet, Rabha Sangeet, Bhupendra Sangeet, Kamrupi folk songs, Bihu songs etc and also have trained many students in his lifetime.

Preferring to maintain a very low profile, this octogerian music maestro has now been living alone at Bengbari in Udalguri district. He loves to spend his leisurely period playing violin although he has mastery over other musical instruments mely Spanish Guitar, Hawain Guitar, Mandolin, Piano, Organ, Accordion etc. Suni had been a close associate of Bishnu Rabha, who had been a regular visitor to his house at Bengbari during early days when Kalaguru had been underground.

Sisir Kumar Suni was born on November 20 in 1932 at Bengbari. He was the eldest son of Dr.James Suni and singer Giribala Suni. Completing primary education at Bengbari LP School, he joined Bengbari Mission School in 1942. He also established Bengbari ME School in association with late bin Chandra Medhi, Mouzadar of Harisinga Mouza and worked as an Honorary Assistant teacher.

Talking to a news portal Suni expressed unhappiness at the present day status of Assamese ethnic folk song and dances. "If not preserved with notation, all will be lost in the midst of remix culture," he said. He was also critical of government policy towards singers, actors and musicians. "Anybody with Radio and TV background gets government recognition leaving behind genuine artists," he said. He mentioned Dr.Nirmal Prabha Bordoloi, Mukul Barua and Pulak Banerjee as his most favourite artists of Assam. Unfortutely, even after so much of his contribution to Assamese music society, Sisir Suni is yet to receive government pension or recognition.

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