The continents are no boundaries for music

Mail Today (8 April 2010)

IF THE note of cheerfulness and hope in their music is a parameter to judge its success, then the musical exchange programme between children from India, Netherlands and Tanzania did manage to cut across all boundaries — geographical as well as socio- economic.

The year- long project by the NGO Smile Foundation, which supports the welfare of children from economically weaker sections, culminated with the release of their album Music Beats at Hotel Conclave Boutique on Tuesday afternoon.

The project brought together privileged and notso- privileged children from these countries. The 20- member group, which has stayed connected through internet over the last one year, met for the first time just a week ago.

“ I was really nervous on the first day, but after a few interactions we all became friends,” said Kajal, 13, one of the youngest members of the group, who studies at the Sankalp Saksharta Samiti School.

Speaking of bonding, Dutch 17- year old Tijn Wybenga hit it off with Ajay, 12, on the first day. “ We started chatting during dinner, and discovered our common interest in music,” Wybenga, who gave one of his two harmonicas to Ajay as a parting gift, said. “ We are through with our share of tears,” added Ajay, who wants to juggle a career in music with computer engineering.

Bridging gaps between social strata, music for many of these children is also a way to tell their story of neglect and spread awareness about it in society. “ I want to sing because I need to tell people what it is to be like a street child,” said the group’s rapper Deogratius Antipas, from Tanzania.

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