Originally from Germany, Lydia Longchari is a musician who has recently moved to Nagaland with her family.
Like the rest of the Nagas, Lydia’s favourite dish ‘Pork cooked with Michinga leaves’ and says that though the standard of living in Nagaland is not as high as it in Germany, the care and moral standards among the people is something laudable which she says is lost in the west.
She believes music is as a universal language understood and spoken very well in Nagaland, an incredible force, a great uniter and the one thing that people who differ on everything and anything else can have in common.
Eastern Mirror today shares an interview with the musician………..
EASTERN MIRROR: How would you like to introduce yourself as a musician?
LYDIA LONGCHARI: I am a singer from Germany. My husband is a musician as well, and we are settled in Nagaland since last October. Based now in Dimapur, we are performing together as the Duo ‘Shape A Shade’ and teaching music.
EASTERN MIRROR: And what’s your musical journey been like?
LYDIA LONGCHARI: I started my musical journey when I was 14 years old and got my first guitar, taught myself some chords and discovered my voice. My early influence were musicians like Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and those days I loved to listen to Country Music. Soon I started performing at functions, festivals, weddings and other occasions.
I took training for sometime at Vocal Union Salzburg and Voiceation Vocal Academy (former Voice Train Studios), gained experience in several live bands in Germany, and lead Worship at the local church.
EASTERN MIRROR: What according to you what is required of individuals that wish to surpass all barriers?
LYDIA LONGCHARI: The most important thing is inspiration and passion. Find a good teacher who can guide you and refine your musical skills. And then, practice, play, practice, play… Ask any successful musician, most of them have daily practice sessions and follow that very diligently.
EASTERN MIRROR: Having spent most of your musical life in your country (Germany) and just a little more than a year in Nagaland where music has just been born, what observations can you give for people who wish to follow a career in music?
LYDIA LONGCHARI: Well, Music is in the bloodline of people here in Nagaland. With all the excellent Music Schools coming up, it is good to seize the opportunity to get as much training, knowledge and experience as possible and combine that with your own unique style and elements from your cultural background and traditional music.
EASTERN MIRROR: Settled in Nagaland since 2015, mind sharing your experience of your short stay
LYDIA LONGCHARI: I love being here in Nagaland and I am very thankful for the opportunity to live here. Even though the standard of living is not yet as high as in Germany when it comes to comforts like social security, insurance, free health care and school education and electricity provided, there are many things I treasure here, that we have totally lost in the West. Things like family bonds, high moral standards, caring for people around you and respect for elders. I am thankful our son is able to grow up here, learning all these.
EASTERN MIRROR: Favourite Naga dish?
LYDIA LONGCHARI: Pork, what else. Love it best when cooked with Michinga leaves and seed (we call it Mongmong in Ao) or bamboo shoots. And yes, I LOVE Axone…
EASTERN MIRROR: As termed “western influence” by the traditional lot, what constructive advice can you give to all young music lovers ?
LYDIA LONGCHARI: It’s good to be inspired from the West, but don’t just copy. Find your own unique style. I observed a lot of young entrepreneurs and artists that are already on a good way with that, who could, in my opinion, easily compete with the rest of the world.
Be passionate about what you do, work hard and like I mentioned earlier, stay true to your culture and own style! You have the power to create something that the world has not heard or seen before.