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Country roads, take me home

The Strait Brothers has been walking down the country road for over two decades now. Though the band was formally formed in 2008, the brothers were making music even before that.
The only country music band in Shillong and probably in India, the brothers are committed to the genre of the music. In the words of one of their favourite singers, George Strait, “I cross my heart/And promise to/Give all I’ve got to give” to music.
Currently, the band has five members and a back-up musician. The brothers — Charles M Lyngdoh (acoustic guitar and vocals), Wrightmego Lyngdoh (lead guitar, slides and vocals), Thankeverdee Lyngdoh (drums and backing vocals) and Rexun B Lyngdoh (bass) — and their cousin, Bhakupar S Umwi (acoustic guitar, violin and backing vocals), have performed at numerous shows since 2002.
“Our band was influenced by the king of country music, George Strait, and Dire Straits. That is how we tagged the name of the band. Country music inspires us all in terms of the lyrics, tune and the instrument variety,” said Wrightmego.
The musicians, who compose their songs, never had any formal training and it was through years of practice that they acquired finesse. “We keep on changing with the trend but always in our country style of music and young people do like common country songs,” he added.
The band performed at countless events and concerts. Talking about country music, Wrightmego said, “It is not just about wine, women and whiskey. In fact, it is all about the countryside and being close to the wild. The songs are a reflection of what fate and nature bring.”
When the pandemic hit last year, every musician in the state met with a roadblock. The Strait Brothers too was affected. “Our gigs stopped and our performance and goal to carry the torch of music took a hit,” Wrightmego informed.
But music can survive any crisis and flows like lifeline even in the time of a pandemic. For The Strait Brothers too, it has been a difficult time but creativity helped the band to tide over it, the members said, adding that country music kept the hope alive for them.

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