Today, I spent the entire day with two of the heroes of Global Lingo, Payal and Ganesh. Both of their voices carry the album and Let Them Sing, and their stories are even more profoundly humbling. Payal’s father just recently bought a home after living in difficult conditions for many years. She came to Manav Sadhna for schooling for the past 5 years, where her talent and passion for singing blossomed in the music classes offered here. Her father had no idea she had such a powerful voice until he was called to see her perform at a concert organized by Project Ahimsa supported music teachers at the Gandhi Ashram. Since then, and since the Let Them Sing CD, her musical confidence has led to many concert opportunities which she juggles with her school work. She is an excellent student, and she explained, as we toured her home, that she loves to practice music whenever she gets the chance. She radiates a brilliant smile, and is full of musicality.
I then spent the afternoon with Ganesh, who sings He Manav on Let Them Sing, and is extensively sampled throughout Global Lingo. He is one of 5 boys in his family, and his parents work very hard to support his artistic talents. Earning money for the family’s survival is a constant struggle, and he takes every opportunity to perform as long as it doesnt conflict with his schooling. His family kindly gave me a tour of their 1 bedroom home, which overlooks the intense neighborhood in which he lives. The sun set while we toured his street, and he explained that it is difficult to practice where he lives, since the commotion of the neighborhood permeates the thin metal walls of his home. He ecstaticly shared Global Lingo, which features him wearing Golden Headphones on the cover, to all of his friends who surrounded us as we talked.
The highlight of the day was a special performance at Seva Cafe, a progressive pay forward restaurant concept run by Manav Sadhna in Ahmedabad. I had the supreme honor of accompanying Payal as she sang for a mesmerized crowd of over 100. We shared the story of Let Them Sing and Global Lingo, and the crowd, full of many of Ahmedabad’s progressive business leaders and activists, were thrilled.
The entire day left me inspired and humbled, and it made me think deeply about how happiness can be found in places that on the surface seem empty. These children nurture their art in the harshest of conditions, and the final outcome is more sweet, more beautiful than we can imagine. Without complaint, they dig deep into their creativity and emanate