AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Contextuali-Tea

Musicali-tea

  • Music in Assam in the 1960s
    “In the 1960s there were deficiencies in the live music department for the tea planting and oil industry workers in Assam. Although the clubs in the various districts provided a social facility, live music was virtually unknown. Surely it was a high probability that amongst the population of junior and senior management there would be some with musical talent?
    It was one afternoon that four people met for the first time and it just so happens that Peter Baxter played the Sax, Jimmy Pariat the guitar, myself (Terry Morris) percussion and clarinet, and Eric Singh was keen to learn bass. That was the geneses of the PB4. [Peter and Jimmy were from Williamson Magor’s Bordubi Tea Estate; Terry was from Pengaree Tea Estate; Eric was from Makum Co. Dirk Tea Estate).
    We got together as often as we could to practice and introduced Eric to the Tea Chest bass. This was already widely used in the late 50s by the skiffle groups in the UK. I believe people like Lonnie Donegan was a prime instigator (he later joined the Chris Barber Band). Skiffle was I suppose a sort of folk music that could be played by almost any one with a sense of rhythm. It consisted of guitars, old metal washboards and a tea chest with a cord from the centre to a broomstick on the side, as you moved the pole and stretched the string you altered the tone and with time you could manage at least 4 consistent notes: G-E-C-A. Eric became quite an expert and as he was accompanying various types of music including Jazz, Rock, and modern dance.
    Needless to say the band was a great success all over Assam, people just loved the idea of live music, visiting many of the clubs throughout Assam. Unfortunately the future of the group was not sustained. The senior management thought we were spending too much time focusing on the music and not enough on our day-to-day work load, which of course was utter nonsense but they had the last word and ensured that certain members of the group were too busy to make the engagements and the band went into a period of non performing. We did manage from time to time to play at private functions but were not allowed to perform at any of the clubs.
    For me personally this was a very sad and disappointing time. However I was moved to a tea plantation in a place called Digboi at the centre of the Assam Oil company, and I joined the Digboi theatre company which produced many plays, musicals and variety shows. Apart from assisting with the music I was able to expand on my acting talents!!”
    Submitted to CamelliaCha.com by Terence Morris from the Republic of Ireland on 22nd Jun 2010
    Contents of this article may not be reproduced without permission. email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
    Click here for a related article on the koi-hao.com website.

 

BGfooter650