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Tripura’s Thanga Darlong, the last tribal musician to play Rosem – a bamboo made a flute-like musical instrument, was conferred the Atal Behari Vajpayee Life Time Award during the 37th Agartala Book Fair here.

Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Devvarma handed over the first AB Vajpayee Life Time Achievement Award to the Rosem maestro on Thursday and congratulated him for preserving the musical form.

In January, the 99-year old tribal musician and music guru was conferred with the prestigious Padma Shri award for his contribution to the field of music. He is scheduled to receive the award from President Ramnath Kovind at New Delhi later this year.

Born on July 20, 1920, at Muruai village of Tripura, Thanga Darlong was initially trained in folk music from his father Hakvunga Darlong. He was later taught and groomed in the nuances of playing Rosem – a traditional musical instrument of the Darlong community by traditional music maestro Darthuama Darlong.

Thanga Darlong has performed in numerous traditional festivals of his community since childhood. He is also arguably considered the most accomplished performers of Rosem ever.

As part of his contribution to the preservation of indigenous music in North East India, Thanga Darlong was accorded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2014. He has extensively travelled across India and abroad, including Japan, to perform on Rosem.

Thanga Darlong was also screened in ‘Tree of Tongues in Tripura’, directed by the National Awards winner Joshy Joseph in 2016.