Oleander: An abode for music hopefuls

“Musicians can be divided into three categories - one who has the interest, those who play out of depression and those forced into it. In the long run only one survives, and they’re the ones that play music out of their own interest” Ms. Lopeno Ovung, Founder ‘Oleander Music Institute’ says.

Since time immemorial music has played a very prominent role in Naga society. There has been the constant endeavor on the part of individual and society to help improve the music industry in the State. Particularly in Dimapur, where music has taken top priority professional courses are being imparted. More importantly it also signifies that a greater number of Nagas have now started to opt for music as a profession and not for the sake of mere leisure. The North- Eastern people, especially the Nagas know the essence of music and quite a good number of people know how to play musical instruments but to channelize it into a profession has always been a difficult proposition.

The Oleanders Music Institute in Dimapur was started with an aim to impart professional courses to the Nagas especially targeting the younger generation, who are multi-talented in the field of music. The name itself reminds us of a local band and the founder Ms.Lopeno Ovung, has named the Institute after the Oleanders band, of which, she is the head-banging drummer and has done many shows around the country. 

The institute which formally came into being from April 2005 currently is in full- swing with 40 students of different age groups. The students encompasses of different communities from Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and also from every corner of Nagaland. They provide lessons on drums, keyboard, violin, vocal octave, and guitar (classical, popular, and bass). One attention-grabbing character among the learners is the presence of Imsulong a six year old aspiring drummer, beating the drums vigorously.

The Institute follows the syllabus of The Associated Board of the Royal School of Music (ABRSM), London. The courses for beginners are for duration of six months and for students who already know the basic scales are offered a three year period. As for the grading system, the institute offers Grade 1 to 8 Certificate courses and is formally awarded by the ABRSM after examination is conducted by the Crown Centre for Theological and Music Education, Nagarjan, Dimapur.

The faculty members, a bio data:

1. Miss Lopeno Ovung, the founder teaches drums. She is also presently teaching drums at Delhi Public School, St. John Residential Hr. Sec. School in Dimapur and also at the Crown Centre. She had her formal training at Bangalore and the Yamaha School of Music, Singapore.

2. Moanungsang Longkumer, the vocal teacher, did his P.U. vocational from Patkai Christian College and graduated from Bangalore University. He also writes cotemporary songs and was the vocalist of a band known as the ‘XTC’.

3. Mhathung Odyou, the Bass teacher, holds a Grate 5 certificate in Music Theory from the Crown Centre under the aegis of the ABRSM, London. He has being playing professionally for eight years and has been twice awarded the best Bassist in the state level competition. He is also an up-coming contemporary song writer.

4. Joey Woch who teaches guitar (popular and classical) and Violin. Did his P.U vocational from Patkai Christian College and served as the Director of the Guitar Ensemble from 2001- 2002. He went to Manila and took lesson from Butch Roxas, (University of Santo Tomas) and P.V. Valdeg (University of Philippines). Toured the United States of America in 1999 as a member of the Patkai Guitar Ensemble under Ren Merry. He is preparing for the Grade 5 exam in Violin, presently.

5. Imtinuklu the one who teaches Piano also gives class in Delhi Public School, Dimapur and plays piano for the band XTC.

Compiled by Peter Chachei