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MUSICAL PRODIGY DEFIES ODDS, EXTRAORDINARILY TALENTED

KUALA LUMPUR, In a small corner of Shah Alam, Selangor, lives a young man whose story is a testament to the boundless possibilities of human potential. T. Thanes, a 24-year-old musical prodigy with Down Syndrome, has not only defied expectations but also touched hearts with his extraordinary talent and unwavering determination. Thanes's journey into the world of music began at the tender age of six. His parents, M. Tanavelu and A. Plomena, both retired teachers, noticed something remarkable: their son had an uncanny ability to replicate complex rhythms after hearing them just once or twice. What started as an innocent curiosity quickly blossomed into a profound passion for the tabla, a traditional Indian percussion instrument. From the moment his parents bought him his first tabla set when he was 10, Thanes's life changed. Recognising his natural talent, they enrolled him at the Maestro Musical Instruments music school in Klang, where he trained under the expert guidance of Venkat Ramaswamy. Over the l ast 14 years, Thanes has mastered the intricate rhythms and nuances of the tabla, turning his passion into a remarkable skill. Unlike some children with Down Syndrome, Thanes has not faced severe internal health issues, although he learns at a slower pace. His educational journey, supported by both public and private schools, is a testament to his resilience. He began his studies at Sekolah Kebangsaan Bukit Rimau in Shah Alam, and he continued his secondary education at SMK USJ 4, and even completed a certificate course in Information Technology at KLCRC Centre in Subang Jaya. Thanes's parents adopted an empowering approach, treating him like any other child and never disclosing his condition to his siblings or others. "This approach might have contributed to his physical and mental development," Tanavelu remarked. Plomena's advice to other parents is simple yet profound: recognise and nurture your child's unique abilities. "We realised that he is a child gifted to us by God, and we took it positively," she said. Their supportive environment fostered Thanes's independence and self-esteem, allowing him to manage personal grooming and daily tasks with confidence. Thanes's talents extend far beyond the tabla. He is proficient in several languages, including Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam and Telugu. He has even performed Malay songs at various events. He can also play the bongo, electric drum, dholki (folk drum), dolak (two-headed hand drum) and modern western drum, many of which he taught himself to play. Today, Thanes stands as a shining example of determination and musical brilliance. His story captivates audiences far beyond his hometown, and his performances leave a lasting impression on all who witness them. "Mom and Dad mean everything to me as they've always supported my dreams. I can't thank them enough for everything they've done. I love them with all my heart," Thanes tearfully expressed. With the launch of his YouTube channel, 'Thanes Tanavelu', he hopes to reach a wider audience and seize new opport unities. His family is now seeking further training for him at the Temple of Fine Arts in Brickfields, eager to see where his extraordinary talent will take him next. Thanes's journey is not just about music; it's about breaking barriers, surpassing expectations and inspiring others with his talent and determination. His story is a powerful reminder that with the right support and a passionate heart, anything is possible. Source: BERNAMA News Agency