Imphal Indie Band Meewakching Shine in one full album –

Imphal, Manipur Meewakching group. Photo: courtesy of the artist

After their brilliant and moody indie / post-punk debut EP Ekhenglakta in August of last year and their Second year EP earlier this year, Imphal’s band Meewakching picked up the sound on their debut album, released in October.

It turns out the long-drawn title is quite intentional. Thengmankhre Hee Ado Lakpa, Eikhoidi Sikhiba Kuire Erolnungda translates to “It was too late for the boat to arrive, we were dead long ago under the lake,” according to singer-guitarist Silheiba Ningombam. He adds: “We wanted to give the album a long title. A sentence. This is how it came to be. We don’t have our own interpretation of it and we want people to relate to it in their own way.

With lyrics in Manipuri, much of the 10-track album still conveys feelings beyond language. “Phungreitang” is a stargazing song in which the voice covers anguish as well as catharsis. With “Ekhenglakta”, these dynamic tracks were also part of the EP. Ningombam explains that the versions on the EP differed from the live version, which prompted inclusion.

Keyboardist and backing vocalist Sanahal Phairenjam leads on “Yeningtha, Kalen, Nakentha, Ningtham… Aduga Yeningtha”, a calmer and subtly emotional song that borders the territory of piano ballads. “The lyrical content of the album encompasses various themes of hope and fear, corrupt people, fascist institutions, love and loss and impermanence,” Ningombam said.

Watch the “How I Wish I Was Back With You” video below.

The only English song on the record – also the first for Meewakching – is the evocative melody “How I Wish To Be Back to You”, populated by playful guitar lines from Ningombam and Dingku Sorokhaibam, supported by the drummer’s rhythm section. Ronald Sorokhaibam and bassist Swami Laimayum. One of the first songs written for the album, Ningombam notes that the sound processing also differs from the rest of the album. He adds: “We had planned an entire EP in English but we changed our mind. Later we wanted to experiment more in the lyrics of Manipuri with the sound we wanted to create: guitars loaded with reverb and chorus, motorized drum beats, different time signatures and heavy synths. But we are confident that we will include more English songs in future releases.

While “How I Wish To Be Back to You” also got a verdant music video, Meewakching believes they can reach more people, even those who don’t understand Manipuri. Recently, “Ekhenglakta” even found its way onto the airwaves of a Brooklyn-based Internet radio station. “We plan to perform out of state once the pandemic situation gets healthier and when more concerts and festivals resume,” Ningombam adds.

With a few shows at Kohima and Imphal completed, Meewakching promises more music videos and performances in the months to come.

Listen to “Thengmankhre…” below. Broadcast / buy here.

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