Lidi Kro-u Society’s journey: From singing to cultural guardians
KOHIMA — Starting as a singing group, the Lidi Kro-u Society, based in Kohima village, has evolved into a cultural organisation dedicated to the preservation and transmission of traditional Naga values.
The society began as an eight-woman group in 2012, bonding over a common love of music and singing together at Christ the King Church in Kohima village, and eventually started to compose, produce, and release original gospel and folk songs.
In 2013, the group released their first gospel album titled ‘Nie Kirei Terülie’ and went on to release two more albums—’Khise ki rei zivikuo (gospel)’ and ‘Tenyimia pfhekru uko’ (folk)—in the subsequent years.
In addition, the group released ‘Thejanuo: The Musical,’ which is a musical documentary of various Angami (Tenyidie) folk songs, adapted from a story by Dr. Neiphrezonuo Mepfhüo.
In 2022, the group released a Christmas song and also produced folk tunes out of a poem for Christ the King Church’s golden jubilee.
“When we were young, we used to love singing and used to sing together in the church, but now we have grown up to become mothers, have kids, and have families,” president of Lidi Kro-u Society, Neisakuonuo Solo, said, recalling their musical journey.
The society’s bid to promote, preserve, and impart Naga culture and its traditions to the younger generation came about in 2019 when they held a training programme for the youth. There they imparted training on traditional skills such as headgear weaving, threshing and winnowing of rice grains, weaving of traditional shawls, folk story narration, and bamboo basket making, among others.
One of their main objectives is to preserve the rich culture and traditions of the Nagas, with special emphasis on the Angami Naga culture.
“We strive to impart knowledge of our rich traditional practices, heritage, and culture to the younger generation. We endeavour to preserve our traditional practices, teachings, and values that are fast losing significance in this day and age,” Solo remarked.
The society went on to make its first entry into the Hornbill Festival in 2021, conducting various activities from December 1 to the 4th. Even in the 2023 edition of the festival, the society organised events at Ketsiezou in Kohima village, including retelling of old tales by elders, learning to play the ‘tati’ musical instrument, folk songs and dances, rice pounding, weaving, bamboo craft, etc.
The Lidi Kro-u Society’s hands-on approach to preserving cultural heritage has garnered notable recognition. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the November 2022 edition of Mann Ki Baat, commended their endeavours. Subsequently, the group received an invitation to the National Conclave on Mann ki Baat @100 in New Delhi, where their achievements were showcased in a nationwide telecast in April 2023.
Chief Minister of Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio, also extended his best wishes to the group after the latter called on him earlier last year.
Notably, the Lidi Kro-u Society have been invited to the upcoming 75th Republic Day programme at Kartavya Path (Rajpath) in New Delhi as ‘special guests.’
The founding members, along with their spouses, totaling 18 members, will reach the national capital on January 22 to attend the event.
Meanwhile, the group members are busy composing an anthem for the upcoming Angami Catholic Women Association’s golden jubilee celebration, scheduled later this month.
The group have also grown significantly, from eight members in 2012 to nearly 100 members today, with both males and females from Kohima Village.
“With the help of God, things fall into place for us one after another,” Solo remarked, expressing gratitude to God for His love and for the opportunity to continue singing with her friends.
The president also emphasised the importance of preserving our dialect, saying that language and mother tongue are our identities and that everyone should make an effort to speak their dialect at home.
“Our biggest focus is to promote the rich cultural heritage and traditions through imparting the values and skills of the Naga tradition today so the upcoming generation can benefit from it and continue to pass them down to the next generation,” she maintained.