Khriekethozo “Gugu” Sekhose is a guitarist from Kohima who has, among several other achievements, opened for power metal band Halloween. He started playing guitar at the age of seven. He is also a guitar instructor.
In today’s Rhythm of Love, the guitarist talks to us about his musical journey.
Eastern Mirror: What is your musical background? Take us through your musical journey.
Gugu Sekhose: At first I learned the basics of the strings from my elder brother. Those days, music classes were expensive so I couldn’t proceed in my musical desire. And also due to financial constraint I had to give up. But that didn’t stop my passion; I went on collecting music resources from various sides and started to practice. Music is another hard subject. My passion led me to a hope which came to pass when I went on to take music lessons in Bridge School of Music, Delhi in 2012 and cleared Rock School Grade 3. After which due to some personal issues, I had to take a break and if God’s willing, I am longing to pursue more classes in future too.
I was with the local band ‘Faded Black’ and on a project band ‘Fifth Note’ and made appearances as the guest artist in major events such as world renowned guitarist, Neil Zaza’s Master class in Kohima in 2015 and Dimapur in 2016.
I also appeared in Nagaland’s acclaimed Hornbill Festivals with the band ‘The Hornbill Project’ , also performed the opening act for the Swedish band Halloween in 2015 at Hornbill Festival and opening act for platinum selling record Guitarist Kee Marcello, composer and writer a Swedish Musician, Master Class in Kohima. I attended internationally renowned electric guitarist Vinnie Moore Master Class in Dimapur, 2014. I was also an invited artiste to the Raj Bhavan, Kohima on occasions.
Eastern Mirror: How does the song writing process work for you? Who are your influences?
Gugu Sekhose: Basing on reality, when I am totally down and depress, music comes in a form of escapism, out of which it helps me to go through life. Inspired by the life situations and hurdles that I go through each day, it became a form of breakthrough message not just to me but to whoever will listen to my music.
I am influenced by musicians such as Mozart, George Frederic Handel, NiccoloPaganini Jason Becker, Yngwie Malmsteen, Guthrie Govan, Paul Gilbert, Marco Sfogli, Joe Pass, Steve Ray Vaughan, Marty Friedman, John Petrucci, Eddie Van Halen, Tosin Abasi, Plini, etc.
Eastern Mirror: If you could do a show from Nagaland/ Northeast what would that be and why?
Gugu Sekhose: We cannot always perform for a cause or free concert. If there can be such a show- it can be a grand concert to promote and showcase the talents. Most of the time, the concerts are based in atmosphere that also attracts rowdy crowd, we musicians deserved the honour and applause of our passion.
Eastern Mirror: What are your fondest memories in your career as a musician?
Gugu Sekhose: It was in the year 2012 in Arunachal Pradesh when I won the competition for 3rd Northeast Youth Festival Guitar Recital. It was a moment of pride as I was representing Nagaland and I felt a sense of achievement after working so passionately in my music. While composing my original piece (Gone Forever), the same feeling of achievement hit me at the same time I realised how music can play a great medium to connect with life and love that I felt, I also contributed to my listeners. The times spent with my band members were the best of memories I hold dearly. We have been through tough times but at the end of the day, our successful performance was all that matter and we build a good bond through music.
Eastern Mirror: You have been involved in various bands. Which is easier: performing in a band or solo, and why?
Gugu Sekhose: In the initials, I was working with bands, Faded black, The Hornbill Project and Fifth Note etc. It was a great journey together as a team. I learned a lot working with different people and it chiselled me better. Due to time constraint and interests, I had to come out and work solo while in time I am still working with the project band ‘Fifth Note’.
As I begin to work solo, I began to move more to perform and also contest. The interest and passion within me from the start is finally getting to work out better as I take on interest in my personal compositions.
Eastern Mirror: Tell us about your debut instrumental piece “Gone Forever”
Gugu Sekhose: ‘Gone Forever’ is a ballad instrumental piece, a profound piece written with passion having a lot of stories to tell. A melodic piece to express my deep emotions and portrays a message in my music, this piece was written in loving memory of my late mother and a tribute to all the loved ones who have passed away. My mother passed away when I was too young to learn to love back my mother. I wished to tell everyone to love close ones while they can until time takes them apart.
“The Lord gaveth, and the Lord taketh away: Blessed be the name of the Lord” Job 1: 21
Eastern Mirror: You are currently working as music instructor. What are the challenges and rewards that you experience working as an instructor?
Gugu Sekhose: Being a music instructor was always a dream job for me. I had the opportunity to tutor some of the best performing artist like Ketoulhoutuo Zuyie, passionate guitarist who is visually blind. The greatest challenged as tutor came through him as we continue to brave the situation to guide him as he was unable to see and read resources that could have help him more.
Presently working as Guitar instructor of Nagaland Adolescent Girls Club (NAGC) under Nagaland State Social Welfare Board., it had been a great challenge to inspire and motivate young girls and build their status and confidence through music.
I always thank God for the musical ability that He gave me which I will always use to glorify him. This I find rewarding when I teach my students to perform for the glory of God.
EASTERN MIRROR: What are the unidentified challenges and obstacles that you see in Nagaland’s music industry?
Gugu Sekhose: There is a myth that unless we do government jobs, we will never survive. The same has an impression on all the youths to strive for government jobs by hook or by crook. In a wake of such turns, we musicians with our passions and interest are finding hard to build a future through music. But it is also a moment of breaking dawns as our passions continue to take us to fulfil our dreams no matter what.
EASTERN MIRROR: What are your plans for the future with regard to music?
Gugu Sekhose: To see Nagaland as a blooming industry for music, where upcoming young talents have a stable future through music and to train young budding artiste to perfection is my plans for the future with regard to music.
My message to the young people of Naga today is that even if there is a lack of job avenues in the government sector, we still have our talents and skill. It is not the time to sit idle, back when music was not encourage as a career by even our parents, we are in a time when our passions in music can be persuaded as a career and most importantly an evangelistic career for the glory of God.