Meet Imnainla Jamir, Nagaland Guitarist Proclaiming Space In Male-Dominated Industry

Imnainla Jamir, who shot to popularity ever since her performance of the Indian national anthem at Hornbill Music Festival 2022, speaks to SheThePeople in an exclusive conversation.

Sreyashi Ghosh
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Imnainla Jamir | Image from Northeast Live

Imnainla Jamir | Image from Northeast Live

Nagaland's Imnainla Jamir had been drawn to music since early childhood. The stage, the people, and the instruments—they all fascinated her. Among them, the guitar stood out and it is almost something that happened organically as she is a self-taught musician. She says “It captured my imagination, and my older brother became my first inspiration.”


At the age of 11, she picked up an acoustic guitar. Her brother taught her the basics, and from there, she embarked on a self-learning journey. Over the years, her passion grew, and she transitioned to the electric guitar. Back in her hometown Mokukchung, she received encouragement and recognition, which fueled her determination. The guitar is an instrument which is mostly considered predominantly a 'male instrument'.  It was difficult in the early stages to get a break as a female guitarist, but with more and more gigs and a serious commitment to the instrument, doors started to open for Imnainla. 

Imnainla Jamir Interview

“Today, I am happy to say that I have lots of male friends who support my music”. Being an ambassador for the World Environment Day and Earth Day #COO Leaders has given her the platform to perform across India, Dhaka and maybe even in the Netherlands in the future. 

Now, as an emerging musician, she has had the opportunity to hone her musical skills putting Nagaland on the international map. While others such as the Tetseo sisters, Alobo Naga have paved the way before her, she aims to make a significant impact. Her upcoming tour not only raises awareness about climate change through music but also connects her with music lovers worldwide. Through her interactions, especially with young musicians and women, she hopes to inspire them to chase their dreams relentlessly.


As for Nagaland, a hidden gem in India’s Northeast, the state is known for its breathtaking landscapes, diverse tribes, and rich culture. To popularise Nagaland, Imnainla is currently working on new music with a fellow folk musician from Nagaland. “Together we are creating music that’s rooted in our culture and traditions,” she adds.

The Modern Guitar she plays shares similarities with traditional Naga instruments like the “Tati,” a single-string fiddle. While the former has its limitations, the modern guitar can bridge the gap between tradition and modernity. "It is my dream to pursue further music studies at the Berklee College of Music in the US," she says. 

Imnainla’s guitar piece ‘Bloom is inspired by beautiful Nagaland mountains, landscapes and flowers.

"Bloom is also a reflection of my musical journey, it’s about my hopes, dreams and aspirations and where talents and hard work can take you," Jamir says. 

Nagaland, dubbed as “land of festivals,” hosts vibrant celebrations that showcase its heritage and culture. The Hornbill Festival, in particular, brings artists together—both local talents and international performers. It was during Hornbill 2022 that she had a defining moment: performing the national anthem. 

Jamir proudly proclaims she carries Nagaland’s spirit within her wherever she goes. In conclusion, she adds, “Let’s celebrate the magic of music and inspire the next generation to follow their passions!”

Nagaland Imnainla Jamir