MT.WITNESS / SUKMUT SAYAK
MT.WITNESS is the story of a storyteller, and his stories. The stories he tells / sings / performs are seeds within which forests and mountains, rivers and spirits play hide and seek with human universes. Here the memories of a whole race spread over the entire Eastern Himalayas, now splintered by sociocultural shifts, find pastures of old riddles and mysteries rekindled amidst the dusty wastelands of history. Sonam Tshering Lepcha of Kalimpong is one of the last great Lepcha masters. Subject partly to mass behavior and automatic norms, denied both the rights / relevance of old ancestral practices and partly negotiating consciously with a peculiar ‘endangered’ ethnic status that modernity has bestowed, the Lepchas, as the world knows (or doesn’t) one of the most ancient tribes, have lost themselves to the TV and Shangri-la, lottery and adventure sports. One after another he picks up Lepcha themes like Nature worship & the Great Flood, genesis of Lepcha Tribes and their manifest design. Sometimes it’s a song relating to life and times of culture hero/legends Geybu Achyuk who Sonam has dug out from virtual oblivion and mapped in actual geo-mythic locations.