2 S'porean musicians, who have experienced racism, remix viral gong clip with traditional Indian instruments

Sending a message with creativity.

Syahindah Ishak | June 13, 2021, 10:43 AM

Singaporeans have heavily criticised a woman who was recently seen clanging a gong loudly, disrupting a man performing his bi-weekly Hindu prayer routine outside his doorway.

Assisting police with investigations

On June 10, the police confirmed that a 48-year-old woman is assisting them with investigations after a report was lodged.

A different perspective

After seeing the original post, a musical duo in Singapore came up with a creative response.

Akshara Thiru, 33, is a Singaporean music educator and the founder of Damaru Singapore, a traditional Indian drumming school, with 15 years' experience in music.

He shared a 59-second long video of what appears to be a remix of the woman clanging her gong on his Facebook page.

Akshara and his friend NJ Pravin, 19, can be seen drumming their Indian traditional instruments - Parai (on the left) and Thavil (on the right) - to the beat of the woman's gong.

You can watch them in action here:

"I decided to take a different approach"

Explaining the intention of the video, Akshara wrote in the Facebook post that he has had his "fair share of experiences with racism".

"When I saw this video, I decided to take a different approach. All I see, is a lady who wanted to be part of our culture so here’s my man Pravin and I giving her a shot!"

Speaking to Mothership, Akshara shared that when he first saw the original post about the gong-banging woman, he "like most Indians", felt upset.

Akshara also emphasised that the video is not intended solely as a comedy bit, but the performers also wanted to share the magic of Indian drumming and bring people together.

He added:

"We felt powerless knowing that we can’t do much to change the situation. So we decided to use the magic of Indian drumming and spread the joy instead.

In our stressful society, it’s perhaps the one thing that we really need now and in our perspective, drumming has that power to bring people together."

The video took 10 minutes for either performer to shoot, and then another hour to edit.

Akshara's friend, who appeared in the video, posted the clip on his Instagram account too.

He wrote:

"I've had quite a few experiences with racism myself. Seeing acts like these did make me rage within...but I wasn't going to let that take me down. So, rather than seeing her as going against us, @aksharathiru and I saw it as an opportunity to jam..."

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by NJ Pravin (@dholisingh)

Top image screenshot from Akshara Thiru/FB.