ACHIEVEMENT Around 368 electric guitarists from the North East played together in Nagaland to enter the Guinness World Records
On a chilly, misty morning the crowd had already swelled to thousands at Dimapur’s NE Agri Expo Ground. In a place where the common refrain is, “nothing happens here”, all were up early on a Saturday morning to watch a record breaking moment.
As many as 368 musicians from different States of the North East lined up in rows on a makeshift stage, each holding an electric guitar. One among them was Gugs Chisli, the project director of Nagaland Government’s Music Task Force, the main sponsors of the event spearheaded by a local group, Sky Entertainment. They attempted to enter the Guinness World Records as the World’s Largest Electric Guitar Ensemble.
Shifting in his front row seat in anticipation was Nikhil Kishore Shukla, a representative of Guinness. He was to check the minute details before the event went into the record books. “They began to play together…finally around 3 p.m., Shukla declared it to be a world record, breaking the earlier record created by 250 guitarists in Ricoh, England, on October 14, 2012,” said Yan Renkikon, the publicity officer of Sky Entertainment, on phone from Dimapur.
“The idea behind the initiative was not only to popularise Nagaland internationally as an area of musical talent and show the world what we are capable of but at the same time we wanted to make this event relevant in context of our situation i.e, spread the message of peace and unity in the North East,” she added.
Around 600 musicians from Assam, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, and Nagaland registered to participate in the record-breaking attempt. “We selected 368 participants finally. We didn’t have a short-listing system, those with an electric guitar were encouraged to play. The record-breaking team also included some members of the armed forces posted here.” While the youngest guitarist was a seven-year-old, the oldest was 60.
The participants played the Guns n Roses’ electric guitar version of ‘Knocking on Heaven’s Door’. “Two reasons why we zeroed in on the song. One, it is a very popular number which most guitarists can play. The other reason being that its lyrics are apt for the present situation in Nagaland,” she Renkikon.
“This looked to us like a great opportunity to encourage the huge talent pool of musicians that we have in the North East,” said Chisla. The annual Hornbill Festival is the Task Force’s star event. Since 2006, it has been inviting musicians from across the country to participate.
SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY
The focus is also to “give local youth an avenue to engage seriously with music to take it up as a profession and not stray into anything else