“Back in the old days, our grandparents used to leisurely play the Tingteila in their free time and the music was something else.” Ningmaso Awungshi of Shangching Village recounts as he smears water on the stings of his Tingteila bow.
Seated on the elevated floor of his spacious kitchen, the winter sun seeping in through the window gave him an almost ethereal aura as he played his Tingteila. And with every stroke at the bow, you could hear the stories he was talking about; the nostalgia pouring out like an oozing spring.
This must be the music he heard when he was a kid; almost like a background score as he ran around the village among the lush greeneries of spring with a catapult hung around his neck.
Human beings tend to be romantic about the simplest of things. And no matter how much we chase the superficial, it’s always simplicity that pulls us most. In that sense, you could understand why Ningmaso chose to cling to his old rustic one-stringed fiddle. This instrument was the epitome of simplicity and humility; it defined who he was and who his forefathers were.
As he played into dusk, the nostalgia deepened but with the overwhelming feeling of sadness and guilt as to why we’d stopped listening to the songs of our forefathers. But maybe it’s not too late to start it all over again.