'India's Got Talent win is a boost to our region'
The Shillong Chamber Choir proved that they were the most talented entertainers on India's Got Talent Khoj 2, when they won the grand finale.
They were followed closely by Teji Toko from Arunachal Pradesh and a Sikh Martial Arts Group called 'Bir Khalsa' from Punjab.
The Shillong Chamber Choir won a Kawasaki 250cc Ninja bike and the grand prize money of Rs 50 lakh.
The winning team was congratulated by Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who was present on the show. The chief minister claimed that the victory came as a big achievement for Meghalaya. He added that the state artists have shown their potential to the world and created history with this win.
The Shillong Chamber Choir, which was formed in 2001, is known for their performance of Khasi opera with a fusion of Western music. The 15-member group is headed by Neil Nongkynrih and includes singers Ibarisha, Donna, Jessica, Patricia Doren Kevi, Sandon, Damon, Riewbankit, Johanan, Kynsai, Ryan and Banlam.
One of the members Damon Lyndem spoke to Rajul Hegde about the win.
Image: The Shillong choir with the judges of India's Got Talent
'Bollywood music is despised in our state'
It was a tough competition. Did you expect to win?
Not really. Our music is softer, has a high tempo and beats which are different from the usual music. So we thought people would not be able to connect with our kind of music.
But it was the other way around -- people liked our music. It gives us a great sense of identity. And of course, there is no platform like television to present your talent to the nation. We are happy that it's the first time a musical group from Meghalaya has won a talent show. It's a real boost to our region.
The Chief Minister of Meghalaya came over to watch the finale?
We were glad that our chief minister came with two other ministers to watch the finale. That was a huge support from our state.
Have you learnt anything from India's Got Talent?
Yes. Though we have won gold at the World Choir Olympics in China, IGT has taught us to be more flexible. It exposed us to Bollywood classics. We would love to explore this genre further and revive old songs in our own way.
What made you participate in this show?
Bollywood music is despised in our state and the rest of the country is not really aware of our music. We chose to perform on this platform to bridge this gap.
Image: The Shillong Choir
'People back home are planning to give us a grand reception'
What will you do with the prize money?
We have regular and underprivileged children studying in our school. Before coming on this show, we had agreed to use the prize money to upgrade the school if we win.
How did you celebrate your victory?
People are waiting for us back home. They are planning to give us a grand reception. We will celebrate tomorrow with our supporters, family and friends.
What's in the pipeline for you now?
We will perform at a few concerts in New Delhi, Egypt and Goa.
Image: The Khichdi cast on India's Got Talent