Mika has trisomy, a genetic disorder associated with impairment of cognitive ability and physical growth as well as facial features. Usually identified at birth, the disorder is also known as Down’s Syndrome, named after British doctor John Langdon Down who described it in 1866.
But the 12-year-old, daughter of former Meghalaya minister Thrang H Rangad, has never let her impairment get in the way of her music. A member of the globally acclaimed Shillong Chamber Choir, she is the kiss of hope for disabled children. And she others of her ilk too is the reason why two top classical artistes have come together for a fusion experiment.
Trinity College-trained pianist Neil Nongkynrih, who runs the Shillong Chamber Choir, and renowned flautist Dipak Sarma would be unveiling compositions specifically for disabled children of Shishu Sarothi, a centre for rehabilitation and training for multiple disabilities. Their jugalbandi on May 12 would be the first of its kind in India blend of Indian and western classical, jazz, modern, folk and patriotic songs in Assamese, English, Hindi and Khasi. Some special children would also be performing with them, and Mika has been assigned the song ‘Amazing grace’.
“This is a fundraiser for children suffering from cerebral palsy and associated disabilities,” said Shishu Sarothi chairperson Satyamrit Kagti. “It has also been designed as a musical awareness, sensitizing the society at large to the needs of the disabled.”
Nongkynrih, for one, wanted the world to have more songs for the disabled, who account for over 650 million people on earth. It was the reason why he penned and composed bilingual songs in English and Hindi. ‘Need of a child’, one of his songs, goes thus: “Many people wonder what to do when they see a child in need/others driven round by self and greed do not see a child in need/have you gathered them around your heart/have you given time they need/is there more that you can do/for the child god’s given you…”
Notably, Shishu Sarothi, earlier known as Spastics Society of Assam, was founded in May 1987. It has grown over the years and now caters to hundreds of children across the Northeast. It had in December 2004 received the national award for best institution from President APJ Abdul Kalam.