Arts and Entertainment
Rhythm of Love: In conversation with Etongbemo and Sandemo Kithan
Father-son duo Etongbemo and Sandemo Kithan have not only captivated hearts but also won the prestigious ‘Song of the Year’ award at the 15th Music Awards of Nagaland for their song “A Shom Mmhontssow” in 2023.
The song and music video was recorded and released in 2022 although it was composed by Etongbemo 20 years ago.
In this edition of Rhythm of Love, the duo shares about their musical journey, and how their relationship has influenced their work and life.
Eastern Mirror: How did you get into music? Share with us your stories.
Etongbemo: Thank you, Eastern Mirror. I love singing back to the time when we had to pause the songs to learn the lyrics. Since then, music and singing have been part of my life’s journey. Playing the guitar was also my passion and because I couldn’t afford one for myself during my time, I aimed to fulfil it for my children, to always continue to love music and let it be a part of their life as well.
Eastern Mirror: Can you tell us about the first time you performed as father-son?
Etongbemo: We started performing in Church services, and we continue to sing for His glory.
Eastern Mirror: As father-son, how has performing together influenced your music and relationship?
Etongbemo: I believe music keeps us alive and music has spoken many times where words have failed. In the same way, our relationship is built on trust and music, making the bond ever stronger. It is because of all the performances and countless practices our bond is stronger as father and son, through all the practice sessions we get time to know and learn from one another and all these learnings have contributed a lot in strengthening our relationship. We are like friends more than father and son.
Eastern Mirror: What is it like watching your son grow as a musician?
Etongbemo: It gives me a deep sense of contentment and a strong feeling of joy to see my son as a musician. I have been encouraging my children that talents and good things should be passed on.
Eastern Mirror: How has your dad influenced you musically?
Sandemo: My dad has always been my first inspiration and he is the reason why I can play the guitar and it’s indeed an inexpressible feeling to be sharing this moment with him.
Eastern Mirror: Tell us about your song “A Shom Mmhontssow” which also won ‘Song of the Year’ award at the Music Award of Nagaland 2023?
Etongbemo: Thank you. This composition dates back 20 years ago. This song, “A Shom Mmhontssow”, which means “My Best Friend”, is about my personal feelings and experience of how Jesus has been and always will be a faithful friend to me. He is indeed our Best and Faithful Friend.
Eastern Mirror: If there is one thing that you have learned from each other and a habit that you would like to change, what would it be?
Etongbemo: The most important thing we have learnt from each other is the attachment and the good relationship between father and son. And for bad habits, we usually correct each other right away so we don’t have any such, moreover, since we are like friends, we feel free to do so.
Eastern Mirror: Now that you have become an integral part of the local music industry, how would you like to contribute to the industry in the days to come?
Etongbemo: We just did our job as lovers of music and with a little sense of composing, writing and with never-ending love from above, we have accomplished a part of it and through the songs that we write, we will always keep the intention to tell people the wonderful things about how life with Christ is filled with joy. Thank you so much.