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A note-worthy change

The iconic song Woh Subah Kabhie To Aayegi gets a makeover — Shillong Chamber Choir style. Choir member William Richmond Basaiawmoit tells Deepali Dhingra that they have retained the essence of the original while creating the Change India anthem

The new year has arrived and with that, has arrived hope — hope for a better future. The people behind Network 18 wanted to capture that hope and so, they approached the Shillong Chamber Choir, winners of India’s Got Talent in 2010 to rework the beautiful song Woh Subah Kabhi Toh Aayegi from the 1958 movie Phir Subah Hogi . Choir member William Richmond Basaiawmoit talks about the experience of creating the song and the music video:

Change Indian Anthem

What changes did you make to the original song?
If you look at the orginal, it’s lovely in itself. It has a waltzy tune and a slow tempo. We needed to make it current.
Whatever was done to it in the 1950s, we needed to bring it to 2014. So we pushed the tempo a bit and made it faster. We changed the keys. You can hear some heavy harmonies in the faster version. There is a lot of energy and the use of instruments such as guitar, Indian flute, tabla, drums — all kind of things to make it more energetic and appealing to the youth. We have also done a slower version, which is more on the haunting side.

Where did you shoot the music video and how was the experience?
The video was shot at Umiam Lake, about 20 kms from Shillong. It’s a beautiful lake.
We would start shooting at 5 in the morning. But the wonderful thing was, there were no complaints from the members ( laughs ). It was done superbly and we cherish the experience.

The choir has come such a long way since its inception in 2001. Did you think it would reach so far?
I think what makes us special is that the process of the choir is very organic. There were no outstanding singers when the group was formed, but a harmony has been created after working with each other.
Things have been falling in place, and by God’s grace, the choir is where it is today.
There were no ambitions when we started out. Some of us didn’t even want to go for India’s Got Talent ( laughs ).
They kept calling us and saying we must participate.
Eventually we did, one thing led to another and here we are today.

Choirs are generally seen as groups that make very serious music, but your repertoire includes old Bollywood songs, too.
We love to pigeonhole things, that’s human nature. Our founder Neil Nongkynrih took a risk and said we will do the regular choir stuff but we should do something else as well. What followed is that it lent itself to a much larger audience. I remember playing at one concert where 40 members of the same family were present! The spectrum is huge.

Any Bollywood plans?
We have been approached several times but we are very picky. The integrity of the choir is far more important. As artistes, to have the right people and right material to work with is very important. Having said that, there is something in the pipeline with director Rajesh Mapuskar and also, a single that we’re working on with Anubhav Sinha.

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