Listen: In Between by Zoozooliu

A quick look at Imphal-based singer-songwriter and self-professed nature lover Zoozooliu’s Instagram will throw up a series of aesthetic, scenic pictures. But one, in particular, will make you think. Its caption reads, “What keeps me awake at night? It is nothing but the longing to cram a thousand lives into the one I am living right now.” And now, shades of this longing have found their way to her new single, ‘In Between’.

With a steady beat of drums, a pleasant riff on a guitar kicks things off on ‘In Between’. Zoozooliu quickly captures your attention with her soulful, twinkling voice; painting a vibrant and detailed picture even quicker. “In the bus, in a rush, headed for the hills,” she sings, inviting us on a journey to her hometown, singing the whole way there.

This track is about the ‘in-between’; the journey to and from. Her trip to the beautiful hills, where she has the chance to get back to her roots and learn new things and her swift return to the maddening crowds of city life shape the nuances of this song.

‘In Between’ evokes the kind of nostalgia we’re all familiar with – the trip back from a holiday at our family home. “Getting back to our roots” is an intentional act for the likes of our generation – learning our mother tongue, listening to the music of our communities, learning how to cook the foods of our ancestors and wading through decade-old photo albums to get a glimpse of life outside this strange bubble in between two worlds.

The song, prettily and subtly, brings attention to this constant conflict we’re all familiar with. It shines a light on the tense beginnings of a new journey and a sparkling moment of discovery. Zoozooliu isn’t criticising this conflict, but offering a paradigm shift to the feeling of being lost – maybe “people like us” just have multiple homes.

‘In Between’ forges a new identity and it’s a valiant effort at that.