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Aiming big in the world of music

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DISPLAYING TALENT: Members of the IDL Blind Band performing in Bangalore. Photo: K. Murali Kumar
DISPLAYING TALENT: Members of the IDL Blind Band performing in Bangalore. Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Sahana Charan

Bangalore: Life does not hold much colour for these 12 persons. But they have decided to write their own rhapsody.

Music is their life and, like most musicians, they want to make it big in the professional world. What is unique about this music band is that all its members are visually impaired.

"Ability in Disability - IDL Blind Band" is a full-fledged troupe that got together seven months ago to produce melody and to make the most of the talent of the members, overcoming their disabilities and the problems attached to it. And now, after many months of hard work and perseverance, they are performing as a group in various functions and programmes.

"It was difficult in the beginning. It was a challenging task to come together and practice. Every band member Murthy, Manohar, Kabilarasan, Sridhar, Abhiman, Jernus, Shanmugam, Pasha, Nagina, Basavaraj, Narasingh and Berny has been provided with a walkman to listen to the music and each member has the lyrics written in Braille of particular songs which are chosen by us to sing. Then we practice it together till we are perfect," said Manohar, guitarist in the band. Manohar lost his vision when he was 20 years old after watching a solar eclipse.

Creating the music band was anything but a cakewalk. The band was brought together by the relentless efforts of P.K. Paul, Founder and Executive Trustee of IDL Foundation.

"I want them to become totally professional so that they can be independent and earn their own bread and butter. The idea is also to perform for corporates and musical gigs," said Mr. Paul.

The IDL Foundation provided the group with musical instruments, walkmans and other materials needed for practice. "It took almost five months to set up a full-fledged band and to keep them together. It was a learning, humbling and challenging experience," he added.

The band has performed for the Governor, the Mayor and for Infosys Chief Mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy. But their big day came when they performed for the Indian cricket team on Sunday. "It is a big opportunity and occasion for us," said Murthy, flautist and the oldest member of the group. "As an individual it was difficult for us to create a niche. But together we can make a mark. We also discuss our problems and fears with each other and are better performers as a group," says Sridhar, singer.

Sridhar, a Kishore Kumar fan, says the visually impaired have no distractions and concentrate better and that is why they perhaps make better musicians. "We want to make ," he said confidently.

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