COVID-19: Hill singers express solidarity with the fund-raising campaign

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Hill Voice, 9 May 2020, Dhaka: Due to Covid-19 pandemic there is a global lockdown, which has aroused new types of crisis. In the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), food shortage is one of those crises. Due to the shutdown of all kinds of economic activities, the indigenous peoples of CHT who are engaged in different kinds of informal jobs like day laborer, driver, Jum cultivators, and small businesses like shopkeepers are suffering largely.

To deal with this crisis, different social and non-government organizations are coming forward. Indigenous students studying in different public and private universities have also taken an initiative to stand by the indigenous peoples in remote areas of CHT by conducting a fund-raising Facebook event. Different kinds of campaigns are also running for the event. One of the programs of this event is the solidarity of the hill singers. A number of singers have expressed their solidarity by singing. These songs are aimed at calling upon the humanitarian people to extend their helping hands for the indigenous peoples who are suffering during this pandemic.

In solidarity with this campaign, renowned singer Parky Chakma told Hill Voice that, everyone should come forward from their position to deal with this pandemic. Since ages, we have seen that music shows people the ways during this type of crisis. So, artists like us should stand by the people at this crisis and should play a role for overcoming this crisis. She also said that, this is the time for stand by each other. Artist like us do not have enough ability to support many people by providing humanitarian aids but we can convey the message of humanity to the humanitarian people through our songs. I am doing the same from my own ability, she added.

Meanwhile, Reminiscence, a band of indigenous young singers have stood by the event through a music video of their band. Cosmin Chakma, the vocalist of this band and a student law department of the University of Rajshahi said Hill Voice that, if music is for man than it is the duty of a singer to come forward with songs in this crisis of people. That is why we sang songs on behalf of our band to call on the humanitarian people to stand by the helpless people.

The young singer further told Hill Voice that during this pandemic everyone is staying home. Prolonged forced confinement at home can lead to emotional boredom. In this critical moment if we, the artists, can help in bringing their mental wellbeing through singing and make then contributing for this helpless people, then I think our singing would be worthwhile.

In the meantime, Milon Chakma, the founder and guitarist of Plung Band told Hill Voice that, positive practice of culture in every crisis helps in overcoming the crisis. Music is not just a medium of entertainment. If we want to find the essence of the practice of music, we will find that ‘Human being’ is the main center of it. It is natural that we will stand by the indigenous people for whom we sing. He also praised the Jumma youths who are involved with this humanitarian event. He also added that, the type of music practiced by Plung talks about the sorrows of hills. So, in this crisis of indigenous peoples of hills Plung band wants to spread love in the remote areas of hills by singing the praises of humanity. It is a mentionable matter that, Plung is a traditional flute of Mro indigenous people.

Apart from these artists, various artists have expressed their solidarity with these indigenous youths. The artists who have expressed their solidarity are Ranjit Dewan, Kalayan Chakma, Jayanti Chakma Priyanka, a female vocalist of Plung Band, Riton Chakma, a member of Madol Band, Novonil Chakma from India, Banashree Chakma Kochi, a female singer residing in Australia, Novonita Hriddhi, singer and student of Jahangirnagar University, Nobokumar Tanchangya, Suzana Chakma (Keka), Sarkiew Chakma and so on.

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