In a captivating display of cross-cultural resonance, 10-year-old Songayai Chahongnao, from L-Phungthar Kachai village in the Ukhrul district of Manipur, took the spotlight at Zingtun’s Got Talent. This stellar performance unfolded during the 10th edition of the Tangkhul Naga Zingtun Longphang (TNZL) sports and cultural festival, which was held from January 15 to January 22 at Pharung village, Ukhrul.
The soulful rendition of “Naga Manu,” a Nagamese hit by Naga rapper Moko Koza, filled the air as Songayai passionately delivered the entire song. However, a poignant moment arose when a judge, asked in Nagamese, “Songayai, where is your mom and dad now?” to which Songayai humbly responded, “Sir, I don’t know Nagamese.”
Despite this linguistic hurdle – being unable to understand and speak Nagamese, the lingua franca of Nagaland – Songayai, an ardent fan of Moko Koza, beautifully resonated with the essence of ‘Naga Manu,’ a song that unites Nagas across diverse regions.
The heartfelt performance not only earned Songayai the admiration of the audience but also secured him a well-deserved 2nd place at the event.
Songayai’s parents, Wungnaoshung Chahongnao and Florida Chahongnao, expressed unwavering support for their son’s artistic journey.
This triumph not only signifies a remarkable achievement for Songayai but also reinforces the shared cultural identity of Nagas, underlining the universal language of talent. As the young artist, currently pursuing studies in Class 6, embarks on his promising musical journey, his debut on the stage becomes a promising chapter in the broader narrative of Naga artistic expression.
The recognition extended by rapper Moko Koza, who conveyed, “Please convey my regards to this kid,” beneath a video showcasing Songayai’s performance, adds a poignant touch to this heartwarming story.