The Junk Band named Dhravi Rocks
Music is beyond caste, creed, gender, age, financial status or any other parameters; it is divine and devoid of any tenets. While renowned and large bands in the world are investing in singers and instruments to get celebrity status and prominence ‘Dharavi Rocks’ has emerged as a junk band and is has set its own class among the world of musical bands. Its uniqueness lies in the matchless instruments used; it ranges from recycled plastic, buckets, tin covers, soft cans, water drums, wires etc.
The band is an assortment of young artists – all are rag pickers who have no exposure to the worldly comforts and it operates from a tiny tin room above the water pipe line of Dharavi – the biggest slum of Asia. The band is spreading a message of reusing and recycling waste; the message says – every piece of waste can be used with a difference and has strength of its own. Every piece of scrap has its percussion quality; thus making instruments from them is a great idea by the kids of the band.
The credit of this band goes to music workshops conducted by ACORN Foundation (India), a non-governmental organization that works with rag pickers and in the field of waste collection and management. ACORN aims at teaching poor children some skills and gives them opportunities in entering some kind entertainment activities. This percussion band is a part of ACORN’s Dharavi Project, which was set up as a multimedia project that would help to change the living conditions of the over 1,00,000 rag pickers who set apart waste in and around the landfills of Mumbai. The project also helps to organize academic classes and sports and other recreational activities for the underage rag pickers.
Mr. Vinod Shetty, who is a lawyer by profession and director of the ACORN foundation, says the junk band centers on ACORN’s core theme – waste management in Mumbai. ‘Dharavi Rocks’ makes music out of junk and gives the message of waste management to rest of the world. This band has inspired many other top ranking schools in the city. The children of these famous schools have created their junk bands and they occasionally meet the Dharavi Rocks artists to exchange ideas and experience of performance.
The compositions are set in partnership with ‘Blue Frog’ – an innovative live music performance club in Mumbai. Blue Frog started workshops for the children to get them accustomed to live audience. Several well-known Indian musicians such as Mohan from the Pune-based rock band Agnee, Suneeta Rao and Shankar Mahadevan volunteered and trained the children. Besides, visiting artists such as Stuart from the Mumbai-based band ‘Something Relevant’ and the ‘Boxettes’ have also conducted workshops, which gave the band its finesse. Some dedicated volunteers like Abhijeet Jejurikar and Ayush Shreshta, both local musicians, spend several hours a week teaching and practicing with the band; the coaching provided by Jejurikar and Shreshta is fundamental support for the band’s performances. This band has showcased live performances in various parts of the world and has been well received by audiences.
Mr Jejurikar says that drumming helps in improving concentration, synchronization and teamwork. The platform of the band has motivated these young kids to think big. They now dream of making it big in the music world while the regular practice and shows conducted all over the world helps them nurture their talents. Many of the boys aspire to join the entertainment industry sooner or later. Do you know music can help you study? Studies have shown that the right kind of music can help you relax your mind which enables you to concentrate better on your work. Our minds have a tendency of wandering, and wandering makes us discontented; this because while mind wanders, it tends to focus on the imperfections of life. Music can bring us back to the present moment very easily.
Music has no boundary – it improves the learning skills of the young children of the band. Since they mix and mingle with children of other top schools, it brings the children from different backgrounds together and creates a bonding among them. They understand each other. It teaches them self-discipline, self-confidence, teamwork, and managing temperaments. Dharavi Rocks has changed many underprivileged kids in positive ways, improving their agility and soft skills. Kudos to ACORN and Blue Frog for such an innovative theme – the junk band!!!!