(This article has been reposted from The Quint’s archives on Christmas Day. It was first published on 23 December 2020.)
The Shillong Chamber Choir is out with their second Christmas album – ‘Come Home Christmas.’
Their last Christmas album 'White Christmas' was released in 2010, just after they had won the reality television series 'India's Got Talent.'
Padmashree winner Neil Nongkynrih, the founder of the choir, has conceptualised the new album. The eight songs on offer are a blend of cultures, languages and will help listeners relook at the traditional meaning of Christmas.
Most songs are sung in English but have stanzas vocalised in ancient Aramaic which according to a legend was spoken by Jesus Christ, in addition to Hebrew, Farsi, and Urdu.
Setting it apart from the other existing albums, ‘Come Home Christmas’ includes a variety of interesting and rarely heard instruments; from the Middle Eastern percussion instrument Darbuka to the melodic instruments like Ney, Oud, Duduk, Saz.
“‘Come Home Christmas’ has been composed and curated to help spread the Christmas cheer. The Christmas story has been, of late, so westernised that we have overtime taken a detour from the real event. This album is to bring back that traditional story of Christ being born in the Middle East. Hence, we as a band, have tried to bring back or reintroduce the Middle Eastern flavor, in terms of both the instruments and languages.”Neil Nongkynrih, Founder, Shillong Chamber Choir
The 40-minute ‘Come Home Christmas’ album was released on 18 December 2020 and can be heard on Shillong Chamber Choir’s YouTube channel.