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Tripura rapper likes songs on issues such as discrimination and racism

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Guwahati: Borkung Hrangkhawl, son of a politician who comes from northeastern state Tripura dislikes alcohol, women and parties when it comes to rapping instead he likes songs that highlight issues like discrimination and racism that is commonly faced by people of the region.

“Singing about clubs, alcohol and ladies are part of rapping, but they are not my taste. Rapping is a gift from god that I want to use in making a difference,” Borkung said here on the sidelines of the second edition of Rongali, Assam’s destination, culture and harmony festival.

The son of Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl, president of the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura, finds the genre interesting as he believes “you can literally tell a story through a rap song”.

“Being from Tripura, I felt like I have lots of things to say. My father is a politician. I got inspired by him because he has been working for the welfare of tribal people in Tripura. So, I picked up rapping to tell the stories of my life, people in Tripura and others around it,” said Borkung.

“Tribal people’s rights in Tripura are being neglected for some reason, probably because of the population ratio… We are declining. Other people have come in and settled there. It’s not that I want to chase away others. We just want our rights as Tripuris. I don’t want to promote violence or anything against humanity. I want to promote equality and peace,” added the 29-year-old.

Talking about violence, the Delhi University alumnus, who began his musical voyage with the hip-hop band DropSquad over five years ago, once got stabbed while strolling in a park in the capital.

“I think it was 2006…I was poked in my chest with a small knife. They poked me three to four times, but it didn’t go in by god’s grace. I asked them why they tried to do it. They said it’s their job. I told them there is no use in doing all this. They thought I was from Nepal.

“Later, they apologised and got me a Bandaid. I could have died. I hope it doesn’t happen to anyone else. It was a bad experience,” he said.

Didn’t he feel like returning to his hometown after the incident or on reading about racist attacks on the northeast people in the capital?

“I felt like that at one point in time. But I thought why we should run away. We are Indians. I feel that there is a need to bridge the gap.

“Instead of always going to the usual vacation spots in India, they (people from other regions) can go to Guwahati, Tripura or Nagaland. The only thing is that they don’t understand our culture. That’s the only problem. Otherwise, they are also good human beings,” he said.

Borkung, who has delivered hits like “The roots (Chini Haa)”, “Never give up” and “The journey”, likes to rap in English as he thinks the language has a greater impact.

“I am more fluent in English. I thought it would be more impactful. Though I did sing ‘The journey’ in Hindi as well,” he said.

Is he open to Bollywood?

“If an opportunity comes, I will consider it… Not so commercial, though. I would like to work on films like ‘Barfi!’ as it’s different. I don’t watch movies for ‘masala’ sake,” said the rapper, who has performed in Chennai, Delhi, Mizoram, Shillong and more.

As of now, he is looking forward to being part of a documentary.

“We are doing a documentary with a few people from Mumbai. I can’t reveal much. They want to make a documentary on people who make protest songs. I am excited about it,” he said.(IANS)(Image-youtube)

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Ease Pain and Nourish Social Connections through Music

Over the years, medical studies have shown that music has many health benefits, too. Those range from facilitating regular breathing and lifting mood to improving emotional function and motor control in patients

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Music has long helped people express their emotions and connect with one another. Over the years, medical studies have proved that music has many health benefits. They range from facilitating regular breathing and lifting mood to improving emotional function and motor control. VOA

It’s 9 o’clock in the morning, time for 3-year-old Lucas’ weekly music therapy session. “Lucas is autistic,” his mother Katey Hernandez explained. “He has a lot of sensory processing sensitivities, which means he’s really sensitive to loud noises, bright lights and a lot of [activity] around his body, and he really likes to jump and swing and climb and anything active.”

Dixie Mazur brings to Lucas’ home session a bag full of instruments. During the session she plays music and sings. “I like to bring in a wide variety of instruments because, especially with younger kids, the attention spans naturally are very short and I like to be able to give them the freedom and ownership to kind of move our session in the direction they want to go,” Mazur said.

She brings in a piano, a couple of drums, rain stick and egg shakers, “things that provide a lot of sensory feedback as well.” Hernandez is happy with the results so far.

“It’s been very helpful,” she said. “Ms. Dixie has come up with a few songs to help him with social dialogue. So, it helps him communicate with us a lot more, when we can’t figure out what he needs.”

Healing soul and body

Music has long helped people express their emotions and connect with one another. Over the years, medical studies have shown that it has many health benefits, too. Those range from facilitating regular breathing and lifting mood to improving emotional function and motor control in patients.

So, it has become a part of the therapists’ toolbox, used either in one-on-one sessions or group settings. It can be passive, where patients listen to music, or active, where they participate in playing instruments and singing.

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Kelsi Yingling, NeuroScience Music Therapy founder, says a music therapist should have passion for music and helping others. VOA

Zoe Gleason Volz brings music therapy to a group of people with a range of cognitive disabilities. “As a group, they don’t really engage with each other,” she said. “So, a lot of my work is trying to slowly get them to positively engage with their fellow group members and actively engage with me.”

The instruments stimulate patients’ senses and muscles. She says the impact is obvious on brain scans of people listening to it. “When you’re listening the entire brain is lit up because it’s having the music and the intellectual sides both kind of firing all at once. Whereas when you’re talking with somebody, you’re probably more into one hemisphere of the brain rather than both.”

Becoming a music therapist

There are more than 6,000 board-certified music therapists in the United States. They’ve gone through 1,000 hours of training, including getting an undergraduate degree and completing a six-month internship, and passing a certification exam.

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Music therapist Dixie Mazur brings to Lucas’ home session a bag full of instruments. During the session she plays music and sings. VOA

ALSO READ: US Researchers Finding Ways to Treat Dementia

But Kelsi Yingling, who founded NeuroSound Music Therapy, where Gleason Volz and Mazur work, looks for more than a certificate. “The type of skills we wanted to see in a therapist are strong musical skills, interpersonal skills and the ability to relate to our clients,” she said.

Music therapists should be patient and able to adapt to various situations, she says, adding that the work is easier when therapists have passion for music and for helping people. “The fact that I get to use music to help other individuals achieve their goals and their highest potential is really one of the most rewarding things I can be doing in my life,” she added. (VOA)