Reflections on December 2015

manika-kaur-reflections-1512-001The past four weeks have been a month of building. Work has begun planning to build a house in the Punjabi village of Khadur Sahib. My charitable organisation Kirtan for Causes are constructing and gifting a new home to the family of a child participating in our sponsorship scheme.

The photographs I have seen of their current housing conditions show a modest room as their primary living quarters with holes in the roof. The small cement shelter is only 1 meter width and 2 meters long and isn’t equipped to deal with the extreme Punjabi seasons which swing from searing heat to piercing cold. At present the building also has no doors so floods easily when the rains come. We are creating enough indoor space and facilities to adequately provide shelter to the family of four.

The incentive to build this home came via my passion to provide disadvantaged children access to education. Kirtan for Causes’ main work financially supports schoolchildren living in rural Punjab through relevant lessons and exams. Yet as our work continues I am learning that once you begin to dig a little deeper into issues surrounding education, you realise a child’s ability to access services is also closely tied to other parts of their life. If a child’s living conditions don’t provide a basic level of safety, warmth and space to study, think and create, it can of course make it indescribably harder for them to absorb and apply what they learn within the confines of a classroom to their everyday life. I’ll keep you updated on the developments of this building project.

This month I have also been building relationships with artists and producers, working together on a new EP to be released on March 8th 2016 which celebrates International Women’s Day. Working with an international host of musicians can be a practically and creatively challenging experience. I’m based in Dubai whereas most of the musicians are based in London. Typically I compose in the quiet hours of my busy day: early morning or late night. I sing ideas aloud and record them onto my phone or computer before emailing them to my colleagues abroad. My initial idea then kick-starts a chain of exchange. Because of time differences and the nature of communicating over email, we are forced to build the music painstakingly slowly, step by step, move by move. This allows us the space and time to hone the music into the exact shape I intend, from my earliest first hum of a new melody to a fully realised orchestration. I’m enjoying building my new works in this manner and can’t wait to share them with you soon.

The events in the news this month including the mortalities in Beirut and Paris have been devastating. At times like this we must remember to stay calm, to create more beauty, to love more wholeheartedly and to continue to carry out acts of kindness – these are the things that can create real change in the world. Extremists who call for violence and even oligarchs who prosper from world wars, want to divide us: we must stand united by love.

This month my music has now been made available to buy in India via Strumm Records. Strumm is dedicated to promoting music that is connecting to India’s deep spiritual heritage. I Bow To You Waheguru is available as a physical CD or download via India’s leading streaming company, Saavn. As ever all profits made from sale of the album go directly to the charitable foundation Kirtan for Causes. It is my firm belief that the arts can bind together humanity in times of crisis, via my music I offer up my song of peace and hope to the world.
Waheguru Ji 🙂

*A special thank you to Harvinder Kaur for recording this video and describing the difficult situation this family lives through daily.