The Shillong Chamber Choir draws inspiration from Handel, Bach, Gershwin and Mozart. But good old Bollywood fuelled its golden run at the 6th World Choir Games that concluded in Shanghai, China, last Tuesday.
A medley of popular Hindi songs from Bollywood blockbusters
Yaadon ki Baraat
Yeh Vada Raha
fused with a few hits of western pop band ABBA helped Shillong Chamber Choir win gold in the popular music category.
Gold each in sacred and gospel categories completed the golden hat-trick for the choir. The golden run was a first for the country.
"We competed in three categories and gold in all," said choir leader Neil Nongkynrih here Thursday, barely 24 hours after returning from Shanghai. His 16-member choir had won silver in the fifth edition in South Korea last year.
Some 400 choir groups from 82 countries participated in this year's World Choir Games, also known as Choir Olympics. China bagged most of the gold medals, but three-in-three is a rare achievement for any country.
Ike Sinha, director and coordinator of the choir, said the choir has been captivating audiences since its birth in 2001. "Neil composed the gold-winning medley much before A.R. Rahman composed 'Jai Ho'."
Apart from ABBA hits such as 'Fernando', the Hindi film songs were 'Chura liya hai tumne', Tu tu hai wohi' and 'Dhoom machale'.
For the sacred category, the choir performed a 500-year-old composition, Ave Verum Corpus, to strike gold. Monks used to sing this hymn as part of a ritual in Catholic churches.
The gospel gold for the choir rode the black spiritual, "To God be the glory".
"I am happy that a choir from the Northeast could make India proud," said Nongkynrih. "We are expected to perform at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi," he added.