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They set their sights high

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MARATHON: "Comagnin Raaga Priya" orchestra performing in Chennai on Sunday. Photo: R. Shivaji Rao
MARATHON: "Comagnin Raaga Priya" orchestra performing in Chennai on Sunday. Photo: R. Shivaji Rao

Meera Srinivasan

Visually challenged musicians complete 50 hours of non-stop performance

CHENNAI: When members of the `Comaganin Raaga Priya' orchestra completed 50 hours of non-stop performance here on Sunday, it was much more than an attempt at the Guinness Book of World Records.

For the audience, it was a lesson in enthusiasm, doggedness and the power of indomitable will.

The troupe of visually challenged musicians performed from 1 p.m. on Friday to 7 p.m. on Sunday, surpassing an existing record of a 48-hour performance by a group in Hungary, troupe director M.C. Comagan said. Over 650 film songs were rendered during the fete.

Five-month practice

"We have been practising for about five months now," Mr. Comagan said. The troupe, which was formed in 1991 with nine members, grew in strength to accommodate a total of 25 talented musicians.

Having set a record in India through a 16-hour show in 1999, the group dreamt big and targeted this international record. They won more attention after being featured in director Cheran's `Autograph' in the national award-winning song `Ovvoru pookalumae...' "It is about identifying one's talent within, nurturing it and giving it your best, said Mr. Comagan.

The achievement, however, was no cakewalk for the team.

Besides several months' hard work and determination, it demanded an immense stamina. Members did sense some tiredness in their voices but that, by no means, deterred the effort.

And the instrumentalists took hardly any breaks in between.

"I managed to catch about one or two hours of sleep in these 50 hours,'' percussionist V. R. Prasanna Kumar said. He played tabla and mridangam.

An English lecturer at a city college, Mr.Kumar began his training in tabla-playing when he was five.

As people gathered around members of the group to congratulate them on the task accomplished, they responded with their reassuring smiles, bearing no sign of fatigue or lack of sleep.

Actors T. Rajendar, Vadivukkarasi and music director Ganesh (of the Shankar-Ganesh duo) were among those who felicitated the group.

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