What many people do not know about the state of Tripura is that it is the birthplace of legendary music director SD Burman. Burman revolutionized Indian music in the 50s and 60s by introducing soulful songs to the Hindi music industry. Apart from SD Burman, the state has churned out brilliant musicians, who may not have received similar accolades but who brim with talent beyond measure.
Traditionally, the people of Tripura have sung two kinds of songs–the first is a lament about the mysteries of life, and the second is songs related to agricultural harvest. In both cases, the flute is the most essential musical instrument alongside the drum. These two instruments add life to Tripuri songs and add to the overall tempo. It takes an incredibly talented musician to do justice to the sound of flute required for traditional songs and this is where Kripa Sindhu Jamatia comes in.
Kripa is one of the most famous flutists of Tripura. He can fluctuate from sad songs to dance songs without stopping for breath. Indeed, when he plays the flute, his fingers move at such a fast pace that it is difficult to keep track.
In an interview with Adivasi Lives Matter, Kripa Sindhu said that he is a self-taught man. He recalls that when he was just 12 years old, his elder brother made a flute for him as a gift. Kripa began practicing on this flute and soon became adept at following tunes.
When he got older, Kripa had a chance to meet a renowned international flute player. “In that meeting, I found out that international musicians play flutes of high quality. These flutes are made to order and so I also ordered one,” Kripa Sindhu recalls. He adds that while Tripura has an abundance of the best quality bamboo, the ancient art of making high quality flutes has been lost.
It has been nearly forty years since he received his first flute and over the course of the last four decades, he has quickly risen through the ranks. He plays on all important occasions and has traveled far and wide to perform in concerts. Kripa Sindhu has followed the footstep of Ram Pada Jamatia who earlier was the most famous flute player of Tripura.
When Kripa began performing with other musicians, he was drawn towards different musical instruments. Soon he became quite good at playing the guitar, the tabla, and the keyboard. He also learned how to sing from legendary Tripuri singer Hemanta Kumar Jamatia.
When asked about his career trajectory, Kripa Sindhu said that we must never let fame get to our head. “I wish to say to the people of Tripura that we should stop taking pride in small achievements. People say that I am an achiever but I don’t believe it.”
He got his first job in 1998 as a musician for All India Radio. After gaining many accolades he was offered a job as a music teacher at the Tripura State Academy of Tribal Culture Apart from teaching at the institute, he also tutors 20-30 students separately. He said that both girls and boys are interested in learning the flute. He is making sure that the new generation does not forget the Tripuri traditional music.
This article is created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereor and Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.