It takes only a phawar to enjoy a world cup match in Meghalaya. In the traditional Khasi folk music tradition, phawar is a chant often employed by rival football fans to tease the other. Sung for decades in the Khasi villages during matches between local clubs, phawar is now heard again in the hills with the FIFA World Cup spawning divided loyalties among the football-crazy in the Northeast.
"Phawar is spontaneous like the blues," says Kit Shangpliang, the frontman of Shillong's folk-fusion band Summersalt. "It is a combination of wit, humour and sarcasm. It's very creative," says the Meghalaya musician, singing praises of the power of traditional music that is making a comeback in the North-East through bands like Kit's.
Respect for the other