PAGE TURNER - Rudy Wallang Recommends

Rudy Wallang, member of ‘Soulmate’, a band from Meghalaya, is a blues-guitar player, songwriter and singer. He tells Gitanjali Das that music can spread knowledge about Northeast’s rich literature.

What does literature mean to you? Do you think it has any relevance in our day-to-day lives? According to you, does it have anything to do with all that is happening around us?
Literature means knowledge. I read newspapers and magazines daily to find out what is going on around me. To me any kind of information is important. I mostly like magazines related to music such as Guitar Player and Guitar World which build up my knowledge about music. Coming to books, it depends on what I am reading. Fiction transports me to a different time and space which I enjoy.

How close is your relation with literature in general, and with literature of the Northeast in particular?
Rudy Wallang, Musician
Basically, I am not a bookworm or literary person. If a friend recommends a title, I read it. I read thrillers and biographies of musicians like Frank Zappa and Beatles. My daughter likes books by Sidney Sheldon and I borrow them sometimes. I am not too familiar with northeastern literature. Of course I read articles appearing in certain publications from the region. I remember reading Khasi folktales as a child. I enjoy listening to those stories if someone narrates them.

What future do you see for literature from the Northeast?
Music can go a long way in making people aware of the rich culture and literature of the Northeast. There are a number of folk bands in the region. There is a folktale in Khasi, ‘U Sier Lapalang’, which was made into a folk song by late Bah Dewisingh Khongdup. The song consists of about 27 verses. It’s about a young stag and some hunters. This song has been sung by many folk musicians. Our band has also sung a few verses from it in the song ‘Shillong’. But the problem with folk songs from the region is that most of them are sung in local dialects. However, they will help the people of the region to remember their roots. Music has a greater reach than literature. If you put melody to a story people will take it in better.

Name one book that had a lasting impact on you. In what way?
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach has inspired me a lot. The story of the book has a simple message: Follow your dreams and make things happen. Another inspiring book is the Bible. I’m a spiritual person, so they are food for my soul.

What book would you recommend for our readers and why?
If you haven't read Jonathan Livingston Seagull then you should. I guess any person can identify himself or herself with the main character of this book. I also like Paolo Coelho’s The Alchemist, Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet and The Book of Wisdom from the Holy Bible.

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