Four sisters from different mothers formed a band with a view to spread the music of their ancestors. Meet Tetseo Sisters, Nagaland’s young cultural sensations. The Tetseo sisters is basically a four-member band from Kohima, Nagaland is comprised of Alüne (Lulu), Kuvelü (Kuku), Mütsevelü (Mercy) and Azi Tetseo. They steadily gained popularity for their regular appearances at Nagaland’s Hornbill Festival. Their musical legacy has transcended time with a trail to their own folklore. Their ancestors sang and danced praising nature and Humanity at festivals to ensure that the values of their culture are passed from generations to generations.
Thousand Miles Team in an exclusive conversation with Tetseo Sisters.
TM: What is the inspiration behind the formation of your band ‘Tetseo Sisters’?
TetSeo Sisters: There never was an inspired moment. We began singing together early in life and we continue doing so- now as a formal group with an official band name. We are on a mission to enjoy what we love doing and share our music to the ends of the world 🙂
TM: Tell us some interesting facts about the band members and how did you guys come together?
TetSeo Sisters: When we first started singsong together, Alune was a cute toddler. Now she commands the group and makes things happen for us. She is pursuing her MBBS from Maharashtra. Azi is a mommy to two adorable boys and she lives with her husband in Kohima. At the moment she is not doing tours but her two boys are the best things to happen to our family. Mercy has a masters degree in Psychology, loves whipping up yummy things in the kitchen and is working on a book. Kuvelu is a social influencer and a fashion blogger besides being the frontwoman of the band. We are blood sisters and best friends too.
TM: How do you define your genre of music?
TetSeo Sisters: We primarily do Naga traditional folk and folk fusion – which is a blend of all sounds and genres that we enjoy and love. We have put our signature stamp on folk with our own twists as we love to keep up with the times and yet preserve the beautiful music from our forefathers.
TM: Share with us your most memorable live gig or event.
TetSeo Sisters: Every gig has its moment. Whether it is a crowd of over ten thousand or just 2, whenever we connect and our stories are accepted with enthusiasm – we feel our work is done. Many times, after hearing our music, people come and tell us they now want to visit India or Northeast or Nagaland and see and hear more – that’s the icing on the cake after the applause.
TM: What’s the biggest stereotype about the people of Nagaland that you want to bust?
TetSeo Sisters: That we still wear leaves and eat all kinds of weird things. Well – people can take a”leaf” or two from the stylish people of Nagaland and up their fashion game. We do have an interestingly delicious diet and we feel it is perfectly alright and there is no shame or excuses to be made there. There are worse things people do than eat a cricket or bee? Let’s eat up all these stereotypes first and do away with them for good.
TM: Is being based in Nagaland a challenge? How do you see it?
TetSeo Sisters: Travel to and from Nagaland and NE India is expensive for sure but things are improving. A lot of things can’t be helped. We just don’t have the infrastructure yet. But most people have the budget to fly us out for their events so that’s the good news. We are based in Delhi and Kohima at different times of the year.
TM: You do quite a lot of your songs in your traditional style Chokri: do you face challenges when connecting with people depicting about gender equality and environment concern?
TetSeo Sisters: Never had a problem connecting with our audiences – touchwood! We do talk about our songs and what they mean at every performance – but the connection is made at the musical level usually. The melody – the emotion – music is a universal language after all. It always works! Thank God for that.
TM: Do you feel proud representing Nagaland? If yes, can we consider your band as the ‘Brand Ambassador of Nagaland’?
TetSeo Sisters: The moment we step out of our hometown or state or country – we all become representatives of our land. So we try to make sure we represent our people/land/culture correctly and positively. The media calls us brand ambassadors of the NE/ Nagaland – which is flattering and encouraging and we are proud to share a glimpse of Nagaland to people elsewhere through our music. Our music, however, is a brand on its own and we do what we do because we love doing it. At the end of the day, we are global citizens who are happy to connect different worlds through our art and if we can create a healthy and happy buzz about the land that we come from, we can only be delighted to contribute – whether in an official or unofficial capacity, whenever we can.
TM: How is Tetseo Sisters different from other bands in India? Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
TetSeo Sisters: We sound, look and feel different. It’s an alternative state of mind and a fresh perspective. There are very few artists doing our genre and it’s pretty niche but we are thankfully doing okay. While we don’t really plan so much ahead, we do know that we will continue doing music and all the other things that we love doing. We want to do more live shows, record more music, travel and explore, uncover more stories and share them with the world.
TM: What are some of your upcoming projects? What your fans can expect?
TetSeo Sisters: New music for sure. Our fans are in for a treat.
TM: Your advice for the novice or budding musicians in our country. What should they do to get people’s notice for their music?
TetSeo Sisters: We never got any advice and we are not in the habit of doling out advice. We can only say from experience – always have a Plan B but don’t give up on your dreams. If you are good and you put yourself out there – you’ll get noticed eventually.
TM: Your thoughts on being featured in ‘Music’ Issue of our magazine ‘Thousand Miles’.
TetSeo Sisters: Thank you for honouring us with a platform and an opportunity to tell our story. We still have thousands of miles to go on the journey that we have undertaken but with the prayers, goodwill and support of our wellwishers, friends, fans, and family – we pray that God will continue to guide us with the gift of music – to inspire and complete our journey in style and fruitfully. Thank you and Hiyohey!
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