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MagikTuch to support visually impaired singers

By Maitreyee Handique in New Delhi
February 18, 2005 12:39 IST
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Watching music talent shows such as Zee TV's 'Hero Honda Sa Re Ga Ma Pa' and Sony TV's 'Indian Idol', modelled on the UK-based reality television programme 'Pop Idol', are a popular national pastime.

While the television viewership rating for such shows are soaring, a new Delhi-based company called MagikTuch Talent Management is quietly carving out a unique niche in the music world; It seeks to promote raw music talents among the visually-impaired.

Set up by Navroze D Dhondy, chief executive of advertising company Creatiges, and George Abraham, chairman of Association for Cricket for the Blind in India, MagikTuch plans to invest in promising musicians to express their full potential.

"Our idea is to hold four to six concerts in a year. Later, we hope to take these shows overseas as well," says Dhondy, former CEO of advertising company Percept.

And this evening, MagikTouch singers will for the first time perform with the Sami Sisters - Usha Uthup, Indira and Maya - at New Delhi's Habitat Centre.

According to Abraham, the attempt will not be to make everyone perform together all the time.

"It will depend on the scale of opportunity, the size of the audience and time. Besides, we also want to promote gifted individuals at the national and international level," he says, adding that each artist will get paid upwards of Rs 1,000 for a single performance to start with.

Artists will also be encouraged to compose their own music, adds Abraham. Clearly, the role models of these singers are blind artists such as Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and India's own Ravinder Jain and K C Dey.

Currently, the company has 15 artists under its wings, including singers, keyboardists and mandolin players. They've been selected after auditioning 75 aspiring singers across cities.

And if response is anything to go by, opportunities are already knocking. The singers will perform at the Centrestage Mall in Noida on February 19 and in Kolkata at a later date.

It has also received requests to perform at corporate events. "MagikTuch will look at organising performances for corporate executives and special groups," says Dhondy.

Currently, tips on singing techniques are being provided by MagikTuch's core group members such as Surkriti Sen of the Mrigya band and Annette Philip of Artist Unlimited, a forum for performing artists.

Apart from this, the singers will get lessons on dressing and on social ettiquettes such as how to conduct oneself with the public at large.

Abraham, who is visually impaired, is also the CEO of Score Foundation, a trust that aims to lobby for inclusive education for the blind.

A former employee of Olgilvy & Mather, he currently conducts workshops to improve communication skills among executives. Score also plans to launch a telephone help line for the blind.

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Maitreyee Handique in New Delhi