Dharavi Kids Create New Sound of Music
PUNE: Come Sunday, and Puneites will get a chance to see the performance of a group of children from ‘Dharavi Rocks’, which creates music out of waste material. The uniqueness of the music lies in the instruments used, which are all from recycled plastic, buckets, tin covers, soft cans, water drums, etc.
The children, in the age-group of 10 to 17 years, will belt out rap songs and Bollywood numbers. The programme is organised by eCoexist as part of the ‘Beauty of recycling’ event at Fab India Jehangir at 6 pm.
The children live and work in Dharavi, the biggest slum in Asia and the hub of most of the recycling activities in Mumbai. Some of them are working as ragpickers, while a few go to school and some are school dropouts. They had the opportunity to perform with well known artistes like Shankar Mahadevan, Sunita Rao and other international ones, and with Indian rock band Agnee and Something Relevant, a jam band.
Sunday’s programme will be hosted by Taal Inc, a drumming group here.
Dharavi Rocks is part of the Dharavi project, an initiative of NGO ACORN Foundation (India). The project works for the rag pickers’ rights. Utilizing artists and social impact programmes, it tries to change the living conditions of rag pickers who are segregating waste in and around the landfills of Mumbai.
The foundation has tied up with Blue Frog, an entertainment venue and music club, to bring music in these children’s lives.
Vinod Shetty, director of the ACORN Foundation (India) and an advocate by profession, told TOI: “These kids have no formal training. They are aided by musicians Abhijeet and Ayush, who come on a weekly basis to train and guide them. They concentrate on percussion instruments that are traditional and use old water drums, covers of monitors, bottles, plastic waste, among others, to create a rhythm. The shaker is made out of soft drink cans, filled with soil, and the mouth is taped for creating effective music. And the percussion instrument is made from plastic water drums. Thus, they create music from the waste that is available in plenty in Dharavi.”
“The performance is for the cause of recycling and to draw the public’s attention towards rag pickers. This will be their first performance in Pune,” Shetty added.
“Nearly 40% of those working in the waste business are children and women. We realised that just providing education will not work. Many kids joined us for a few days and left. So, the foundation opted for multimedia syllabus and conducts workshops where young children can get some kind of informal education,” he said.
According to Shetty, these children have tremendous self-esteem and confidence. “Most of their families are working in Dharavi as rag pickers or in recycle industries. We want these children to get jobs in offices with the help of our volunteers so that they do not have to face any occupational hazards,” Shetty said.