Benedict Skhemlang Hynniewta

By Myrlysa Kharkongor | SHILLONG:

Meghalaya, the abode of clouds, with its lush green forests and captivating landscapes, for eons, has inspired many artistes from around the globe. And one day, when famed flautist Benedict Skhemlang Hynniewta picked up his instrument and blew into it, it was his homeland’s scenic topography that held his musicality by hand and took it on a journey that later transpired into a poetical composition – Sha Ri Ki Rngai.

A Khasi instrumental number that loosely translates to “to the land of fantasy” and as the name goes, it imprints the artiste’s musical imagery into the listeners’ mind. “I am inspired by the landscape and hills that surround our land and, that is my inspiration for this song. I must admit, I was also inspired by my wife, who has been a constant support in my creative journey,” says Hynniewta, who released the song in a popular video streaming website, on February 20.

When asked why he chose instrumental music to give shape to his love for his homeland’s topography, the artiste, says, “For me, instrumental music helps me express my feelings better and, it’s challenging because to do that all I have are the eight musical notes.”

Rooted that he is in the culture of his homeland, Hynniewta’s choice of the flute that he used to record the song too reflects his love and admiration for other cultures of the world. “The flute that I used to record the song is handcrafted. It’s made from black African wood by Martin Doyle, one of the finest flute makers in the world, from Ireland,” says Hynniewta.

Also a visual artist, Hynniewta has been channelling his creativity parallelly into both painting and music. And when asked, which artistic medium is his favourite between the two, he spoke about how it is impossible to part with one’s first love. “Since my school days, my first love has always been painting, and music comes a close second. However, I love playing the traditional bamboo flute,” he says.

Hynniewta looks up to the doyen of Hindustani classical music, Hari Prasad Chaurasia, as his inspiration and laments not having ventured into music earlier in his life. “I am proud of the compositions that I have released so far and hope that other talented artistes from the state too challenge themselves to come up with things that they want to do. After all, ‘it is never too late to start something good’, isn’t it?” he simperingly asks.

Acknowledging how the technology is changing the musical world, Hynniewta says he is for the “positive” change. “Unlike 20 years ago, now musicians are using digital platform to showcase their talent. It is great to see how the youth is utlising the medium to make their art reach its admirers worldwide.”

Shot and edited by Langkupar War, Sawdamut Kharbuki, Khonin Rabha and Johanan Lyngdoh, Sha Ri Ki Rngai also owes Benjamin Syiem and Gregory Allya Warjri for making the video what it is, says Hynniewta, adding that he hopes listeners will enjoy the composition and vowed to release more music videos in the future.

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