Bangalore, Aug 20 : They came to Bangalore undeterred by the fact that their own ilk was leaving the city in droves. For they knew that their music had a message of harmony, love and peace and be a balm for the troubled times.
The first performance of the Independent Church of India's central choir outside the northeast may not have been perfectly timed, keeping the recent incidents in mind, but the choir decided to go ahead shrugging off security concerns.
"We are not afraid of staying in Bangalore though many of our brothers and sisters have left the city scared for their lives," said Rev Jothanghrim Joute, youth coordinator for the choir.
"Though we look like foreigners because of our Mongoloid features, we are very march a part of India. We bring the message of love and pray for peace and harmony to prevail in Bangalore and different parts of the country marred by communal tensions," he said.
The choir comprises members mostly Mizo Hmar tribals from Churachandpur district in Manipur. Hundreds attended the show by the Manipuri choir at Richmond Town's Methodist Church, which was highlighted by an extraordinary performance on Sunday evening.
While the group of 25, accompanied by their conductor, sang church songs and hymns praising the Lord, their performance was infused with vibrant rock, jazz and blues influences that had the audience in thrall.
The choir, which has 12 albums to their credit, sang a set list of 20 songs, consisting of hits like Hallelujah, The Lord's Prayer, Longing for heaven and The Glory of the Lord, in English, and local North Eastern languages like Hmar and Dulian (Lushai).
"Amidst the prevailing tensions, the choir arrived at the right time to rejoice life. We all are children of God and we celebrate our oneness with the music," said Pastor Jonathan Bangera.