Rhythm Of Love: In Conversation With MoArenla - Eastern Mirror
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Rhythm of Love

Rhythm of Love: In conversation with MoArenla

By Temshinaro Updated: May 23, 2024 10:29 pm

MoArenla, a musician hailing from Nagaland, is known for her original compositions that draw inspiration from the depths of nature, spiritualism, and folklore.

Married to Adi Bhasin, a musician and producer of the acclaimed contemporary folk band Rajasthan Roots, MoArenla is settled in Rajasthan, where she has spent the past 14 years exploring diverse folk cultures, music, and instruments of the region. Her exploration also extends to the Sufi and spiritual music of Rajasthan and Sindh.

The artiste, who finds collaborations ‘interesting and a great learning experience,’ believes that music is a way of life.

In today’s Rhythm of Love, she shares her journey into crafting a unique genre she calls, which  she calls ‘Naga Blues’.

Read on…


Eastern Mirror: What inspired you to pursue a career in music and how did you get started in the industry?

MoArenla: Music has always been an integral part of my life, I grew up listening to different genres of music such as gospel hymns at Church and Sunday School, Rock and Roll from my aunts and uncles, and old bollywood classics such as Mughal – E – Azam , Anarkali etc. from my grandfather. I was always the family entertainer, and was always asked to perform at family gatherings, and was fondly nicknamed – Nancy after Nancy Sinatra. My grandfather was a great inspiration for me, as he not only loved my voice, but also told me about folk tales of the Ao Tribe, and we would often sit together, talk, sing and joke. He was my role model and greatest supporter.

After graduating I travelled to Rajasthan to explore different folk cultures and its music. I married Adi Bhasin, who also is a musician and producer of an acclaimed contemporary folk band, Rajasthan Roots.

From 2010 onwards I spent 14 years working with the folk musicians of Rajasthan, learning their music and instruments and exploring the Sufi and spiritual music of Rajasthan and the Sindh. I performed and travelled worldwide with the band and also collaborated with them in famous TV programmes such as coke studios on MTV and Dewarists on Star World. I later started writing and composing my own songs in Ao dialect and formed my own unique style of Naga folk blues.

Eastern Mirror: How would you describe the music that you typically create? And what is your approach when it comes to writing music?    

MoArenla: In my musical journey, I’ve crafted a genre I call ‘Naga Blues’, a fusion that blends traditional Naga folk music with the soulful essence of melancholy and spirituality and nature. Some of my songs  ‘Miem Sang’ (My Beloved), Ni Aser Na (You and I), Miem Ka (One Love), Oja (Mother)  speaks to both the earthly and the ethereal, exploring themes of longing, resilience, and transcendence while offering a glimpse into the interconnectedness of humanity and the natural world.

My approach to making music is deeply personal and intuitive, and I let creativity flow naturally, inspired by nature, spiritualism, and my own emotions. I think in some way every artiste would create music this way.


Eastern Mirror: How do you balance your personal life with your music career, and what sacrifices have you had to make along the way?

MoArenla: I don’t really differentiate between my personal life and my music career, as music is a way of life for me. I sometimes feel like a Nomadic Gypsy going where the music takes me.

I feel incredibly fortunate to travel the world, collaborating with musicians from diverse backgrounds, sharing my music and weaving connections across cultures through the universal language of music. Thankfully I have not had to make any sacrifices!

Eastern Mirror: Do you follow any particular genre?

MoArenla: My musical influences are many, I grew up listening to everything from Bollywood to Gospel, Folk to Rock and Roll, Indian and western Classical to Pop Music. So I can’t really say that I follow one genre.

In the Genre of World Music I was in the past decade captivated by the Mali and African Blues, Gnawa music of Morocco and the Gitano – Roma – Gypsy music of Europe, and in a way these have been my inspiration and these influences are quite evident in my own songs.


Eastern Mirror: Where have you performed? The best crowd you have ever performed at?

MoArenla: In my music career of almost 15 years, I have been fortunate to perform in various countries around the world in some of the most beautiful festivals and stages. These have come mostly through collaborations with Rajasthan Roots, and other international musicians.

There are honestly too many memorable shows to choose from but some of the best were – Performing for an audience of  over 100,000 people live at the Inauguration of the Adi Yogi statue at the Isha Yoga Centre on Mahashivaratri, the show was also live telecast to 5 crore people worldwide, and was also attended by PM Modi.

Europe tour with American band Cocorosie, 2 months travels across Europe and UK and played in over 30 stages in 15 countries.

Collaborations and performances with singer songwriter Diane Cluck from USA with performances at the Donou Festival in Austria.

My TV performances on Coke Studios at MTV with Rajasthan Roots, and The Dewarists on Star World.


Eastern Mirror: We live in a world full of criticism. How do you handle negative feedback about your music and what steps do you take to improve your craft?

MoArenla: So far most of the feedback I receive has been positive and encouraging. It’s best to take negative feedback in your stride and possibly listen and learn from it, and if it’s totally unfound and derogatory, Ignore it!

Eastern Mirror: Can you discuss the experiences you’ve had collaborating with musicians from different backgrounds and how has this influenced your music?

MoArenla: Collaborations are always interesting and a great learning experience. I have collaborated with artistes from Rajasthan. My collaborations with International musicians such as Cocorosie and Diane Cluck  inspired me to also write and sing in English. My collaborations with electronica acts, beatboxers such as Levan from Austria, David Walter from France and Sina Siav from Persia gave me an understanding of how to incorporate live looping and electronic beats and production into my own music. So there is always learning from everyone you meet and work with. 

Eastern Mirror: Can you share about some of the unique instruments you use in your music, and how they contribute to your sound?

MoArenla: I always look to incorporate folk instruments such as dautara (5 string fiddle) , bamboo flute, Algoza (double flute) and various percussion instruments such as daff, morchang (jaws harp), Khurtal (castanets) and bells and even the Chinese bowed string instrument – Erhu in my music. They add certain mysterious accents, rhythmic overtones and also uplifting beats to the music.

Eastern Mirror: Can you share insights into the role of diversity and representation in the music industry and how it has impacted your career?

MoArenla: Diversity and representation in the music industry are not just buzzwords; they’re essential components of artistic integrity and cultural richness. The industry’s landscape is evolving gradually, to embrace and celebrate a broader spectrum of voices, backgrounds, and perspectives. For me personally, this shift has been both empowering and transformative. As an artiste rooted in the traditions of Nagaland, I’ve often found myself at the intersection of different musical worlds—blues, folk, and spiritualism. Embracing diversity has allowed me to explore and amplify these intersections, creating music that reflects the multifaceted nature of human experience. Moreover, being part of a diverse musical community has enriched my creative process, exposing me to new sounds, ideas, and collaborations that have expanded the horizons of my artistry. In a world where music serves as a bridge between cultures, diversity isn’t just about representation; it’s about fostering understanding, empathy, and unity through the universal language of music.


Eastern Mirror: What would you be doing right now if it wasn’t for your music career?

MoArenla: I would definitely be doing something creative as I love to design clothes and jewellery and also have a label called ‘ Arensflora’ for this, or possibly I would be in the culinary world, as I enjoy cooking and baking too.

Eastern Mirror: What’s next for you?

MoArenla: I have spent over 15 years performing and writing dozens of beautiful songs which I now want to share with the world, so Production is definitely my main focus for the next few years, as I want to record, produce and share my songs. And then of course, I look forward to performing these songs in Nagaland and the world in the future!

Also read: Rhythm of Love: In conversation with Lutso Puro

By Temshinaro Updated: May 23, 2024 10:29:41 pm
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