Armed with his talent in crooning multi-lingual songs without any “hiccups” including in diction, Chuba Jamir or CJ, in the year 1989 became the first ever Naga to have won a national level singing talent show aired on the national TV-“Lehar Lehar Sangeet”
By Imna Longchar, TFM Nagaland Correspondent
The versatile crooner from Nagaland who took the state by storm with his rendition of popular Hindi songs dating back to the 1960s and 1970s, Chuba Jamir or CJ as popularly known among his fans mostly from the Hindi speaking community, passed away on Monday morning leaving many in a state of grief.
One of the first singers from the state to have shared stage in the presence of the President, Prime Minister, bollywood personalities, Chuba Jamir was also popularly known for his “yodeling” resembling that of the yesteryears’ legendary Bollywood playback singer and actor late Kishore Kumar.
Without any professional training in music, Chuba made his musical talent being felt by crooning not only limited to his own tribe’s language or Nagamese songs but beyond including Hindi, Bengali, Assamese and many other languages.
Born sometime in the 1960’s into the family of businessman and former MLA late K Tiayanger and Alila Yanger, of Longkhum village, Mokokchung, Nagaland, Chuba’s musical journey began with singing Christmas carols within his neighborhood and later shared stages with artists across the country and beyond.
Gifted with many talents, late Chuba known for his philanthropic approach towards the society, once during an interview with a media house had stated that he faced many difficulties in flourishing or surviving in a “multi-lingual music world” but overcame the challenges though with a few heartbreaks including battling with oral cancer for many years which finally took his life on Monday morning at around 9 am at the AIIMS, New Delhi.
Popularly known as the “Guru” amongst Hindi music aficionados from across the country and also a fitness enthusiast including having keen interest in martial arts, weight lifting, boxing, and other sporting activities, Chuba was also one of the pioneers in introducing body building in Nagaland following his parent’s footsteps.
This multi-lingual artist having crooned in ten languages including his mother tongue (Ao), English, Hindi, Bengali, Nepali, Assamese, Nagamese, Punjabi, Marathi and Tamil, was also one of the participants in a singing competition “Naga Nite” in the year 1984 which was hosted by department of art and culture, Nagaland, where he sang a “multi-lingual medley” which ultimately bag him a prize.
Armed with his talent in crooning multi-lingual songs without any “hiccups” including in diction, Chuba Jamir or CJ, in the year 1989 became the first ever Naga to have won a national level singing talent show aired on the national TV-“Lehar Lehar Sangeet”, where his anti-dowry Punjabi song won him hearts of many.
Later on, it was eventually the language that took him places beyond Nagaland as according to his previous statement after 1989, there was no prospect of music in Nagaland but added that the linguistic adaptation had allowed him to mingle with various cultures in different cities around India by having stated that the “Language is the first bridge between people.”
He also started a Non Governmental Organization (NGO), Socio-Economic & Ecological Awareness Forum (SEEAF), and later on computer institutes in Dimapur, Kiphire and Tuensang.
In 2009, Chuba’s first ever music album recorded in Bombay now Mumbai, “A Tribute to Kishore Kumar from Nagaland”, a diary marking off his journey and achievement since 1982 was released thus giving him the recognition matching the legendary Bollywood actor and playback singer, late Kishore Kumar.
Having been interviewed by many leading national news channels including the Doordarshan and NDTV, late Chuba was also well known amongst from the many politician, socialites, bollywood film industry, and industrialists from both within the state and outside including former Nagaland chief minister and governor of Maharashtra and Goa SC Jamir, Tina Ambani, Mahesh Bhatt, former President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, Jaswant Singh, former governor of Nagaland Nikhil Kumar, and present Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio.
Though entertaining his many fans since he started his musical journey and engaging in other philanthropic activities, in the year 2012, he was diagnosed with “mouth or oral cavity cancer” due to chewing of tobacco related items including “paan and ghutka” and by 2014, it led him into to the fourth stages where he had to be admitted to the AIIMS in New Delhi, and then Apollo, where his treatment began.
A cancer survivor and a fitness enthusiast, who had taken up the challenges to face life with a positive note and who himself had visited many schools and colleges in the state to testify his experience on the effects of tobacco use, had to finally bow down to the call of the Almighty.
According to family source, the body of late Chuba would arrive Dimapur on Wednesday after which a funeral service would be conducted at his residence, Taxes Colony, Lengrijan, Dimapur.
Meanwhile, condolence messages from the music communities of the state, northeast as well as from across the country have poured in by extending their grief over the demise of Chuba Jamir citing that his demise has left an vacuum which would be “irreplaceable”.