The Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s premier institution for the promotion and preservation of performing arts, awarded the prestigious Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar for the year 2020 to Mgt. Tapasi Debbarma, a young Tripuri folk singer, for her outstanding contribution to reviving the ancient Tripuri folk song “Jadu Kolija.”
The award ceremony, held at the Meghdoot Theatre Complex in Rabindra Bhavan, was attended by prominent figures from the music and cultural industries. Tapasi Debbarma was among the 32 artists who received the award for their exceptional talent and contribution to Indian music and performing arts.
Tapasi Debbarma’s journey as a folk singer began when she was only 10 years old, learning traditional songs and dance from her parents and grandparents. Over the years, she developed a deep passion for preserving and reviving Tripuri folk music, which has been slowly disappearing due to the influence of Western and mainstream music.
In her pursuit of keeping the ancient songs alive, Tapasi Debbarma started exploring the traditional instruments used in Tripuri folk music, such as the sarinda, chongpreng, and sumui. She also studied the lyrical and musical nuances of the songs, understanding the cultural context and the message behind the lyrics.
Her dedication to preserving and promoting Tripuri folk music paid off when she recorded and released a rendition of the ancient song “Jadu Kolija,” which received critical acclaim from music experts and enthusiasts. The song, which talks about the longing of a lover for their beloved, touched the hearts of many, and its popularity spread like wildfire, inspiring more young musicians to revive ancient Tripuri folk music.
Speaking at the award ceremony, Tapasi Debbarma expressed her gratitude to the Sangeet Natak Akademi and dedicated the award to her parents, grandparents, and the Tripuri community, who have always supported her in her musical journey.
The Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar is a prestigious award given to young artists below the age of 40, recognizing their outstanding talent and contribution to Indian music and performing arts. The award consists of a cash prize of Rs. 1,00,000 and a certificate of recognition.
Tapasi Debbarma’s achievement is a testament to the power of traditional music in uniting communities and preserving cultural heritage. Her dedication to reviving ancient Tripuri folk music is an inspiration to many young musicians and cultural enthusiasts, who are now following in her footsteps.