Hearing Impaired Band Strikes Right Chord
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30 August 2010
I hear the sounds My each sign is a musical note, Why do you turn me a deaf ear, While we all are sailing in the same boat I speak with my hands With ideas just as you...
Vadodara: Rap music was not only about catchy beats and raunchy lyrics when it first started becoming popular in the early 1980s. It was seen as giving voice to the youth from American ghettos and reflected the harsh political and economic realities of their lives.
Now, the same music is giving voice to another marginalised group of society–the hearing impaired. An NGO from Vadodara is grooming hearingimpaired members of a new band, who will produce original lyrics and compose its own music. Mook Badhir Mandal (MBM) is hoping to use the music as a means of both education and empowerment. They hope to bring rhythm into the lives of those who have not experienced sound.
The idea of forming the Indian Deaf Rap Group was the brainchild of Rajesh Ketkar, joint secretary of MBM, who represented India at the World Deaf Expo in Las Vegas in July. "I was introduced to an American deaf bass band there. In America, music is used in a big way to integrate the deaf community with normal people," Ketkar said.
"When drums, bass or tabla are played, deaf people feel the vibrations. We are going to capitalise on this sensation to train deaf youngsters in understanding rhythm and take help from professional musicians," added Ketkar. The band will express itself in Indian sign language transforming it into dance movements. This will be a form of entertaining their community members as well as express their feelings.
Two members of the band – Imran Sheikh and Vibhuti Agrawat – have already started working on developing lyrics and music along with Ketkar. "On World Deaf Day, Imran and Vibhuti will be staging a performance in the city on the songs composed by us."