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Perfect Strangers Crowdfund for India’s Rural Deaf with New Music Video ‘Shout’

The visuals for the Bengaluru rock band’s latest single features all the lyrics in sign language

Anurag Tagat Mar 16, 2020

Bengaluru rock band Perfect Strangers. Photo: Armaan Mishra

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Bengaluru rock band Perfect Strangers’ latest single “Shout” might just be one of Indian indie’s only songs to have a music video featuring a hearing and speech impaired cast. Guitarist Debjeet Basu says that when he came in contact with a school for the deaf in the city and got acquainted with non-profit organization Helping Hands, they found proud hearing impaired signers to sing the emphatic lyrics to “Shout.”

The video, directed and edited by Avishek Ghosh, is accompanied by a crowdfunding campaign that Perfect Strangers have started to aid Helping Hands with their work in rural India to increase education amongst deaf and hearing-impaired children. Basu says of their Rs. 6.50 lakh goal, “We needed to empower the deaf because there’s been a huge lack of education for them. Parents won’t send hearing impaired girls to school because they suffer abuse. Helping Hands told us they could build education plans and programs in villages.” The campaign also covers costs for teachers and accommodation for students.

The song, however, started off as a commentary on the vicious news media cycle around Karnataka journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder in 2017. A call to stand up and speak out, “Shout” took a different turn after the band’s decision to start the crowdfunding campaign. Perfect Strangers have written about abusive relationships (“Blow Up Doll”) and the travails of being an independent artist (“Just for Gigs”) and the world’s narcissistic tendencies (“Selfie”) on their 2018 debut A Strange Connection, but “Shout” continues their socially-conscious songwriting. Basu says, “We’re always interested in what’s going on around us, but instead of venting on Facebook with a post, I think we should write something more permanent.”

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It’s their first release featuring new vocalist Tanya Shanker, who at 14 years of age is already adding powerhouse soul vocals toward the end of “Shout.” While this song is led by vocalist Pranav D.M., there’s more material in the works featuring Shanker, who replaced Raphael Emileenaa last year. Basu says that auditions for a new vocalist showed them it was tough to find someone to step in for Emileenaa but they got Shanker on board after discussing with her parents and mentor, vocalist-guitarist Richard Dudley. “She really likes the music we’re playing,” Basu says.

While the current global pandemic has mostly canceled all tour plans for Perfect Strangers – which means some of the fundraising they were planning to do at their shows have been stalled – a Bengaluru show is tentatively on the anvil for April. Basu adds, “Our priority now is to play all over India.”

Watch the video for “Shout” below. Contribute to Perfect Strangers’ campaign here.

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