Alternative Hop-Hop band Urban Prophecies are releasing their own reworking of Athlete’s classic track Wires on 28 January 2013, with all proceeds going to The Meningitis Trust. We Caught up with band member Manuel Chowdhury to find out what got the band involved.
As a writer, inspiration can come from anywhere if you are just open to all the possibilities available to you, yet as a person, inspiration is harder to grasp. The complacency we fill our lives with inevitably becomes the voice with which we speak to the world, open a paper and read about death and war, listen to a radio and hear about climate change and poverty. We’ve all got something to complain about, but once in a while someone comes along who changes our perspective on things, a human being who’s strength and courage through the worst of adversity acts as an inspiration to even the most lost soul, and can touch you to the very core.
One such person is Alissa Chowdhury, a beautiful young girl, who at the tender age of just 1 year old contracted Meningitis. Her father, Manuel Chowdhury, describes his daughter as a smiley, cheery, giggly kid who all of a sudden became ill. The doctors put it down to a bug or the start of Chicken Pox but when one morning the family found a spot, they did the Tumbler test and the spot did not disappear as it should. They phoned an Ambulance and little Alissa was rushed to hospital, despite the Ambulance Crew claims it was still just Chicken Pox, but parental love proved to out-weigh the combined knowledge of all the medical staff. A parent knows when something is wrong with their child, it’s instinct, something you can’t explain or describe and on this day instinct was proved right when, within minutes of arriving at hospital, the poor child’s body was awash with purple blotches.
The Hospital treated the Meningitis, eventually killing it, but the blood poisoning had already caused so much damage. The family were distraught when they were told Alissa would undergo surgery to amputate her legs and part of her right hand, but somehow the girl herself, this small bundle of life found the strength in her heart to give her parents a smile that would inspire them. Manuel says;
“…I Remember the day of her operation she was so alert and full of smiles and laughs, all of a sudden we weren’t down anymore, if she was smiling, we should be too. It was from that moment Samantha and I adopted the attitude of having no right to be upset or wallow, when our little princess was all smiles”
3 Years later, and little Alissa has adapted so well to what she went through, still full of life and energy, refusing to let her experiences slow her down one bit, and now even has a little brother to look after. Manuel says;
“My daughter is not special or different because of her disability. She is special because of her strength, her personality, her courage, her bravery and above all else… her smile”
During the time Alissa was in Hospital Manuel’s band Urban Prophecies was due to be playing a gig, despite the temptation not to play, the band played and donated all the proceeds to The Meningitis Trust. The trust has now become big supporters of the band, helping them in their efforts to use their skills to raise money and awareness. Also during this time Alissa’s mum, Sam, used music to help soothe the pain she was feeling, specifically a song by Indie Band Athletes called Wires. She loved the song so much, the words touched her so deeply, she shared the song with Manuel and he began the process of trying to get permission to record the song in aid of The Meningitis Trust.
The song is now recorded and there is a video to go with it, featuring the lovely little lady herself. It’s a beautiful recording, stripped to it’s bare bones to really drive home that message of hope, and a truly heart-felt rap to break it up. Have a look at it here:
It’s hard not to be touched by this little girl with the big smile and wide eyes, to show the most amazing courage despite having every possible reason to be down-hearted. Whoever you are, wherever you are, we need to raise awareness about Meningitis and the devastation it can cause. One small girl has proved that above all else bravery can combat the greatest of adversity, so lets make this angel the face of hope for this new year.
If you or someone you know has been touched by Meningitis and you need help or advice then please contact The Meningitis Trust
If you suspect your child may have Meningitis or you have noticed any of the symptoms described in this article please dial 999 immediately.
You can download the track from iTunes on 28. January 2013.