Assam Skies - A Tri-Continent Collaborative Project To Revive A 100-Yr-Old Story Of Assam
Artists and actors from Assam, UK, US and Spain come together for Assam Skies, a musical docudrama depicting the lives of and relationship between an English tea planter and a tribal girl from a tea garden in Assam.
A poem, originally written by Karen Weed, Assam Skies depicts the life and relationship of an English tea planter and Rampiyari, a young tribal girl from the tea gardens of Assam. This is a true story based in the era of colonial rule in India. Rampiyari died of a broken heart when her two children were taken away from her and put into a home for orphans in Assam. It was the same year when their father married his English wife.
Assam Skies is the 5th from the ChaiTunes series of music videos. It is a collaborative project where, for the first time, Assamese traditional musical instruments are fused with an American country/folk styled song. Assam Skies also won the semi-final placement at the UK Song-writing Competition in 2017.
The poem has been converted to a ballad by an American country singer Char Seawell and Assamese musician/producer Jim Ankan Deka; and sung by Char and Catherine Khiangte from Mizoram.
When Karen Weed, a writer, heard the entire story from her grandmother, she wanted the story of Rampiyari to be heard. In 2017, she wrote the poem Assam Skies based on the life of her grandmother and the relationship between Frank and Rampiyari. She decided to enter the prestigious UK Song-writing Contest where Assam Skies achieved semi finals placing. With more excitement in her heart, she shared the poem with various people. In the winter of 2018, Char Seawell, a folk-country singer from Bothell, USA, after having a talk with Karen, came forward to give a tune to the poem, transforming it to a melodious song.
In 2019, Assamese music producer, Jim Ankan Deka, was approached by Karen to produce the music for Assam Skies. He brought together a team of traditional and western musicians, actors and filmmakers to fully produce a musical docudrama based on the story. For the first time, traditional Assamese musical instruments are used for an American country-folk based song. The song was released worldwide in June, 2019.
The song is sung by Char herself along with Catherine Khiangte from Mizoram. The Assamese traditional instruments have been recorded by Barun Das and Debojit Kalita in Assam. The percussionists are Prabal Gogoi and Debjani Hazarika. Jim himself played the guitar, bass and keys. Char's voice was recorded in Washington.
The shooting of the video started in August with the lead actors Lain Heringman from Spain, Alice Banting Bhattacharya from UK and Gargi Buragohain from Assam. The child actors who acted in the video are Harshita Baruah and Bornali Thakuria. A few other actors who acted in different roles are Nitesh Parvat, Arnabjyoti Kashyap and Bishnu Pada Pramanik.
The video was directed by filmmaker, Tarunabh Dutta assisted by Himakhi Dutta and Angshuman Bhattacharya. The still photographer is Pragyan Bezbaruah. The 2nd Unit Director is Prabal Gogoi. The video is produced jointly by Karen Weed, Jim and Debjani. The video will be released under ChaiTunes Project by Music Malt.