India will soon have what is quite possibly its first transgender music troupe. Sahodari Foundation, a third gender collective from Tamil Nadu, has joined hands with the state government to create the troupe, comprising 25 transgender singers and instrument players. Tamil folk music apart, they will perform South American aboriginal music, African tribal music and Australian folk music.
“There are many singers of international repute from the transgender community. But this is the world’s first music troupe of its kind with all members being underprivileged transgenders,’’ says Kalki Subrahmanyan, founder-director of Sahodari and a transgender herself. Artistes from Auroville in Puducherry are training the troupe. Named Viduthalai Kalai Kuzhu (Liberation Art Troupe), most instruments used by them will be traditional ones made of wood, bamboo and stone. The social welfare department of Tamil Nadu has given 14 thappus (a traditional Tamil folk music instrument), each costing Rs 2,500, to the troupe.