Tetseo Sisters compose a song that calls out violence against women
The folk fusion quartet from Nagaland collaborated with Mumbai-based producer Bluesonava for this project #WeStandWithHer
By Shaswata Kundu Chaudhuri
Kolkata, Jan 8: Violence and crime against women is alarmingly high today. Though voices are being raised and feminism is on the rise, there is still a lot left to be done to make the world a safer and better place for women. With that spirit, Nagaland’s folk fusion quartet Tetseo Sisters have composed a song La té! Vé té ho! (Stop! Enough!).
This song is part of a collaborative album We Stand With Her, curated by Mumbai’s Little Sounds and BeBetter Collabs organisation. Mumbai-based producer Bluesanova, or Darshan Lodhaya, is the musical backbone of the project that features about 15 different artistes singing in diverse languages such as Bengali, Marathi, Hindi, English, Punjabi and Tamil.
Tetseo Sisters, consisting of Alüne, Azi, Kuvelü, and Mercy Tetseo, have written a rather hard-hitting song in Chokri, a language native to their tribe – Chakhesang Naga. “When Romel Dias from Little Sounds got in touch with us and asked if we would like to be a part of the collaborative album #WeStandWithHer in protest of violence against women, we immediately said yes, especially when he said we could write our song in Chokri Naga dialect,” they say.
It took them a day to write the song. Their brother, guitarist and producer Mhaseve Tetseo, added the sounds of traditional Naga instruments – tati and bamhum – to give the song its unique folksy touch. With this as the base, Bluesanova added beats and turned it into the spine-chilling track it is now.
Strong and powerful lyrics
The lyrics lash out against the violence faced by women and call for an end to it. The intended message is strong, forceful and direct. “The song is a statement! It is the accumulation of many thoughts building up over time in reaction to so many unfortunate events that have been happening around us,” says the band.
“We are surprised that there isn’t more anger or protest against the poor treatment of women in all cultures across time and more recently when it has gone up a notch. There seems to be a growing trend of violence against women in most spaces, both in real physical spaces and online too. We are also aghast at the victim-blaming that happens in the instances of sexual violence and the insensitivity of a system that is meant to protect the violated, which inherently discourages victims from coming out to report crimes against women or themselves.”
Song with an urgent message
While their music has usually reflected the colourful cultural traditions of Nagaland, this song has greater tangible value since it deals with a subject that is universal as well as local.
The song has an ominous tone that becomes angry when the solemn vocals kick in. The electronic effects give it an apocalyptic, dark edge that is very difficult to ignore. The song’s core lines ‘Stop! Enough’ are repeated in English at the end, which only reaffirms the song’s urgent message.
It has also stirred debates and discussions in their native region – a desirable result on all fronts.
“People have been touched and the song has stirred emotions. It has become an anthem of sorts and we hope more people take note and adapt it into their own dialects too. We don’t want it to be just a song but a strong reminder to take action and step up,” says the band.