Kuku, Mercy, Azi, Lulu – folk singers from Kohima, Nagaland. Photographed at Hornbill Festival in December ’12.
“The white shawl on Azi & Lulu is Mhusu Khwu or young girl’s shawl. Mercy & Kuku are wearing Chipi Khwu – the chief of chiefs’ shawl or the shawl of merit.
The big necklace is called Tida(rich man’s necklace) – it’s passed from one generation to the other. Tida in Chokri means massive necklace. You get it from your mother when you hit puberty. Before that you only wear Tiza, a string of carnelians – common for both men and women.
The moment you are born your parents claim your soul by giving you Vokha – a necklace which is short in length, a choker of beads(worn as a head band).
The quills are made of porcupine spine.” Mercy’s words.
I first met and photographed the three sisters at the Péro stall at fashion week in Delhi more than a year ago. They also hosted me back in Kohima. I hung out with them almost every day. They knew all the thrift shops. We went cafe hopping & grocery shopping…
More stories later.
Note: They are in Bombay and are making their debut at Folk Nations, Blue Frog later today at 6pm. Listen to their stuff here. Come.
Photos from Kisama, Nagaland. Pragati Maidan, Delhi. Local Grounds, Kohima. A room in Mokokchung. Night Market, Kohima.