Introducing the Mizoram Synod Choir

I will try to tell the story of how people I have never heard of, who live in a place I have never heard of, and speak a language I have never heard of – have used a photograph I took for the cover art of their musical album.

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At the end of 2001 I went to India and spent about six months backpacking. One photo I took was of a street beggar. I shot it in a small village called Hampi in the state of Karnataka in the southern part of the Indian subcontinent. I actually took half a dozen shots of the same man, and what I particularly liked about this one is the enigmatic face, glistening with sweat. I felt it conveyed the true meaning of being that person.

[singlepic id=259 w=300 h=456 float=right]Back then I wasn’t blogging yet, but I did manage to develop, print, scan and email that photo to folks at home. Fast forward to 2007 when I started blogging and one of the first things I did was retroactively post my travelling correspondence, including this one.

Now we get to two days ago, when I noticed quite a bit of traffic coming to my website from this forum post. I could not understand what language the site was using, but from the bits in English I could decipher the post was discussing the similarity between the cover art of an album and that of Assassin’s Creed, a video game – both featured a hooded man. A user by the name of Angaiha was able to track down the source for the man in the cover art: Yes, it was my photograph.

Upon further investigation it turns out that the cover art was for a choir named Synod Choir for their video CD titled Pathian Hmel which apparently will set you back a hundred Indian Rupees (a little more than two bucks). Oh, yes, it turns out that this musical ensemble comes from the Indian state of Mizoram which I have never heard of, inhabited by Mizo people who speak (and sing) in Mizo language and look nothing like the Indian people I have met travelling.

How do I know what Mizo people look like? Glad you asked, as it gives me the chance to direct your attention to the album’s eponymous song:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jFJuaxppCM

It should be mentioned that everything I post on this blog falls under a Creative Commons license which allows for certain uses of it, but using any of the content for commercial purposes goes beyond that scope. Basically, there are legal ramification for the unauthorized usage of my photo, but I will not get into that at this time.

First Picture I Like

[Sunday 3/2/2002 01:11 – Chennai (Madras), Tamil Nadu, India]

[singlepic id=259 w=300 h=600 float=right]Hi everybody!

I am in Chennai, the 4th largest city in India. It is in the south-east, but you probably know that after checking the map at […]
Right?

Anyway, it’s a huge Indian city with all the beggars and the sewer in the streets, but it has its perks.
Malls! Huge shopping malls to spend all your Rupees in!
Today for instance I spent all day in one (1!) store inside a mall.
7 hours in one _huge_ store!

The weather here is a bit hot. Not as much as the hell in Cochin, but a huge different from Kodaikanal – the town I just came from.
It is a hill-station established by the Americans up high in the mountains.
It was so called there, waking up in the morning reminded me of waking up for guard duty in the boot-camp. But then again, everything here reminds me of boot-camp.

One last thing:
After 30 rolls of camera film, more than US$200 spent, and around a thousand clicks I have finally found a picture that I really like:

Attached is a picture of a beggar. It was taken in Hampi, Karnataka state, India in January 2002.

Shahar.