Laisram Birendrakumar Singh

Born in 1920 in Imphal, Shri Laisram Birendrakumar Singh was initiated into vocal music by Shri P. Nobin Singh of the Manipur Dramatic Union. He was later trained in singing popular songs by Shri L. Gourhari Singh of the Rupmahal Theatre, Imphal. His teachers in Manipuri folk music, to which he directed his attention in the late 1940s, include Sarvashri Chungkham Manik, Oja Man- galjao Singh, and Haoreilung Kabui. Shri Birendrakumar Singh presented Manipuri folk songs on the Rupmahal stage for the first time in 1948, and remained associated with the theatre as singer, music director, and actor up to 1960. In this process he was able to create a niche for the folk song in the modern Manipuri theatre. In the same period, he also sang folk songs over All India Radio and later he performed on Doordarshan. Since the 1980s, Shri Birendra- kumar Singh has contributed to scholarship in Manipuri folk music and folklore, participating in seminars and publishing papers and articles on these subjects. His articles are included in works such as Traditional Performing Arts of North-east India (1990) edited by Shri Birendranath Dutta. His Anthology of Manipuri Folk Songs (1999), published by the Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, has brought before a wide readership the musical heritage of his state. For his service to Manipur’s music, Shri Birendrakumar Singh was conferred the title Sangeet Bhushan in 1991 by the Manipuri Sahitya Parishad. He was elected a Fellow of the Manipur State Kala Akademi in 1991-2. Shri Laisram Birendrakumar Singh receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribution to the folk music of Manipur.