Profile of Laihui

Laihui *

The Centre for Research on Traditional and Indigenous Performing Arts
Keisamthong Keithel, Imphal - 795001, Manipur India.
Phone: 91-385-2405478

Laihui was established in 1985, under the guidance of late Oja Thongam Thoiba (Pena Guru). Currently the center is has been functioning in consultation with various experts and gurus from various field viz.

  • Maharaj Kumari Binodini (Cultural Activist & Eminent Writer),
  • Oja Kh. Mangi, (Pena Guru),
  • Oja L. Yaima (Pena),
  • Oja Th. Ningthemjao (Pena),
  • Ema O. Dhani (Amaibi),
  • Ema Langathel Thoinu (Moirang-Sai),
  • Oja Bidhu (Amaiba),
  • Oja E. Chaobhal (Cholom Nata Sankirtana),
  • Oja Deven (Thang-Ta),
  • Dr. K.B. Singh (Sociologist),
  • Dr. W. Ibohal Singh (Political Scientist)
  • Dr. L. Gojendra (Theatre Director),
  • Smt. Priti Patel (Manipuri Dance Exponent) and
  • Oja Subol (Pung).
Laihui has no its own building and its office is running at rented building.

Harao seigonna Jagoi

So far, Laihui had conducted various intense researches on Traditional and Indigenous Arts of Manipur. Many gurus and artistes of this centre have engaged themselves in various Seminars, Workshops and Performances in and outside India. Since 1995, every five years, Laihui has been organizing "Festival of Performing Traditional Arts".

In the year 1990 a training center was established at the residences of Oja Kh. Mangi, receipient of Sangeet Natak Akademy Award, Ema Langathel Thoinui recipient of Sangeet Bhushan Award and Ema Amaibi Dhani to preserve "Oja Khanba" (Guru-Shishya Parampara System of Learning).

Ever since the establishment of this Centre many young and educated performers are taking active part in the activities that helps rejuvenate the rare indigenous performing arts like, Pena, Khunung Eshei, Tangkhul-Nurabi, Moirang Parva (Traditional Theatre), Moirang-Sai and Amaibi Dances.

Performance at Octave 2008 at Mumbai

For the first time the relevance and important of these rare performing arts have been brought in to focus and limelight. This resulted in the prestigious performances at Peter Norton Symphony Space Theatre Broadway, New York and at UN. This centre had produced numbers of innovative traditional performing arts and audio visual documentaries based on above art forms.
Laihui stands for the preservation and propagation of ancient traditional performing arts through performances, with a modern and contemporary perspective. At present this institute is run by M. Mangangsana and a team of his dedicated talented artiste.

Recent Repertories:

A new performance incorporating the various traditional performing art forms of Manipur on the folklore associated with the Manipuri Goddess of rice "Phou-oibi" The performance takes the opportunity of employing art installation a unique and elaborates costume designing, modern stage lighting and sound arrangements in highlighting the performance.
Performers & crews: 20
Duration: 1hr

Leishem Thanghai (2008)
Leishem Thanghai, is an experimenting and innovative form of Manipuri Martial Art performance. Designed and music by M. Mangangsana. The Meitei's myth of "Leisemba" the creation of earth is reenacting through the various movements of martial art. The piece is choreographed by Oja S. Awangba Mangang.
Number of Performers: 12
Duration: 12 min

Ithanglen O! Athouba, Heroes, Heroines and Warriours (2007-08)
Motherland Manipur have many great souls, brave and beautiful It is in praise of those - Heroes, Heroines, Warriors - who symbolize not only humanity and tenderness but also the source of courage, inspiration and perseverance, and those warm hands have moulded the life and career of those brave and beautiful souls, that we offer this short performance as a dedicated to those Heroes, Heroines and Warriors by attempting with some of the typical musical instruments and songs of the natives
Number of Performers: 18
Duration : 27 min

The program will begin with Chukpharol-Anoirol (The Creation of the World and Existence), the shaman dance ritual which opens the annual month-long Lai Haraoba festival. This will be followed by Loi Okpa (Princess Thoibi's Return from Exile), which tells the story of Thoibi, the Princess of Moirang, who is accosted by her undesired suitor when she journeys back from exile in Burma to reunite with her true love. Lai Nupi Thiba (The Love-Seeking of the Gods) features two stories from Manipuri mythology expressed through song and dance: "The Bride of Khori Phaba," which tells of the divine polo-player's hunt for his bride, and "Panthoibi's Search for her Lover." The program ends with Thang Katpa (Closing Ritual of the Four Corners) in which the shaman appeases the spirits that she has brought into play during the Lai Haraoba festival.
Performers: 10
Duration: 1hr 50 min

Lei Langba, Moirang Parva - Traditional Musical Play (2006-07)
The performance of Moirang Parva is equally potent with the spirit of romance and heroism centered around the story of Khamba and Thoibi - the legendary romantic pair. "Lei Langba" which is one of the finest musical portions of Moirang Parva is our musical theater presentation. We tried to keep the originality, essence, lyrics and assets which were employing by earlier period Gurus of Moirang Parva except apply of modern lighting and sound system. In this play we have a few living legendary old aged artistes of Moirang Parva namely; Oja Kh. Mangi in the role Moirang Ningthou (King of Moirang), Oja K. Kullachandra in the role of Chaoba Nongthon (Minister of Moirang) and Ema Langathel Thoinu in the role of Ngangkhaleima (mother of Hero Khamba).
Number of Performers: 20
Duration: 2 hrs

Lai Haraoba (2006)
The great pre-Hindu Manipuri festival called Lai Haraoba is believed to be a re-enactment of the merry making of the Manipuri gods and godess. This festival is celebrated annually at different places of the state in honours of the Umanglai (ancestor deities in the woods) and the key performers of this festival are the Amaiba (pre-Hindu Priest), Amaibi (pre-Hindu priestess), Pena (a stringed percussive bowing instrument) player and local inhabitants.

Apart from divination by the Amaibi which involves foretelling of fortune or otherwise of individuals and the locally in her state of trance, the main focus of this festival is on the enactments by the performers of the scenes relating to primitive concept of Manipuri cosmology - the creation of earth, emergence of life forms, human beings family, society and other paraphernalia that we experience in human society.

1. Invocation of divine soul from water.
2. Offering of dance, Pena music and fruits and flower to please the deities.
3. Hoi Laoba as a form of calling all the gods and goddess.
4. The emergence of the young deity Khoriphaba and his display of masculine strength and hunt for a spouse.
5. Creation of various life forms including human being and the emergence of society.
6. Building of house and weaving of cloth.
7. Birth of feeling and emotion, love and hatred.
8. Appreciation of beauty and truth, and with the realization of the significance of life, a peaceful world - a divine world - has emerged.
Performers: 33
Duration: 1hr 40 min

Ode to the Yaiphabi (Mothers, daughter, . ) Manipuri Music Ensemble (2006)
Inhabited by different linguistic and cultural groups, our motherland has nurtured them all with love and care. Many great souls, brave and beautiful are produced. It is in praise of those Yaiphabi women - mother, daughters and sisters - who symbolize not only humanity and tenderness but also the source of courage, inspiration and perseverance, and those tender hands have moulded the life and career of those brave and beautiful souls, that we offer this short performance as a dedicated to our mothers, daughters and sisters by using some of the typical musical instruments and songs of the natives (Manipur).
Numbers of artiste: 18
Duration: 1hr 20 min

"Harao Seigonna Jagoi (Devine Dances of Loves from Lai Haraoba) (2005-06)
In our endeavour to preserve the Manipuri traditional music and dance, we at Laihui look at the ancient Manipuri ritual festival Lai Haraoba where one finds a vast expanse of traditional Pena music and its accompanied dances preserved so dearly by our ancestors. Through the years some of the musical interludes in Lai Haraoba are found to have neglected and even given up though such items were in the past considered vital and essential. In our pursuit of the pristine Pena music, we have collected those items and some of these have been presented in our present offering "Harao Seigonna Jagoi". Ours being a stage-craft, minor alternations have been incorporated without losing the essence and spirit of the original acts.
Numbers of performer: 11
Duration: 25 min

Uraolol, an ode to the tree (2005)
An experimental Manipuri Traditional Opera

Uraolol is an ode to the tree,
Nay, to the natural environment
And fear of human being's activities.
See how admirable the acts of voiceless life are,
All committed for the well being of mankind
Even though cut into many pieces
Still remain until they thaw to the earth.
O! great human, why don't you remember
We are all good children of Mother Nature
Why do we dispute with each other.

Numbers of performer: 20
Duration: 1 hr

Other Rare and Popular Traditional Performances:

Pena Phamshak - Men's Ballad
Pena Phamsak becomes popular during the reign of King Chanrakirti (1850-1886). Pena Phamsak has been performed by a male Aseiba (performer) with one or two Khonbangba (accompanist). The contexts sung by Aseiba (Pena Singer) are the stories of Kings and Legends. In a Pena Phamsak, a bit of theatrical elements can be defined. These elements are express through music, song, dialogue, physical gestures and the set and properties. The performance is traditionally done by a solo performer, though Pena Phaibak (duet) performance is held in rare case.
Number of Performers: 2 or 4
Duration: 30 min & more

Moirang Sai - Women's Ballad
Manipuri traditional women's musical ballad accompanied with Pena, Pung & Sen (or Mandila). Stories of Khamba and Thoibi sung widely in the valley at many social occasions. Such kind of performance was flourishing during the period of 2nd world war. Langathel Thoinu is the pioneer of the Moirang-sai. Main resources foundation of the Moirang-sai's musical tunes is derivative form of Pena music and blending with other forms of Manipuri traditional music.
Number of Performers: 5+
Duration: 30 min & more

Thougal Jagoi, Raas, Pung and Dho-Dhulok Cholom, Panshou-Laam, Thang-Ta Chainaba, Amaibi Jagoi etc.

See Laihui Photo Gallery here.

* This information was provided by Laihui . They can be contacted at laihui(at)rediffmail(dot)com This article was webcasted on November 16, 2009.

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