Music by nature has the power and ability to overcome all barriers. It can act as a peace keeping tool, build bridges between cultures and touch the hearts and minds of millions when heard. It has and can be used to get different political and social messages across, and act as the voice of a nation. I passionately believe in the power of culture in developing positive relations between nations, as well as strengthening individuals, communities and the development of cities when culture is invested in and celebrated. This is why I am delighted to be working with this young choir from Nagaland, to help them raise funds for a project that will encourage the appreciation and practice of music in North East India.
In October 2015 Voices from the Hills, a new choir from Sechu-Zubza, a small village/town in Nagaland, North East India is planning to travel to Malaysia for the first time to perform in front of a live audience. Click here to visit the crowd funding page and help make this project happen.
The founder and composer of Voices from the Hills is 26-year old Toto Chucha, a young man whose untapped natural musical talent was discovered at a leadership and peace building Conference at Sechu-Zubza in 2012. Many talented musicians from this region like Toto have not had the opportunity to develop their creative skills due to lack of money and support. Since gaining some recognition and financial aid, Toto has been able to get some formal music training, and as a result he has started up Prelude Music School for local young people. Toto is determined that other creative young children from Sechu-Zubza and the neighbouring villages have the opportunity to grow and maintain their passion for music, and do not struggle like he did as a child. Since its inception in 2014 the school has benefitted 18 young boys and girls.
Voices of the Hills is made up of 10 young men and women, and is a result of Toto’s belief that music can encourage peace building making development possible. Nagaland has long been associated with a staggering host of problems; namely alcoholism, drug addiction, extortion, and other forms of corruption. This is a fledgling but precious step in celebrating the wealth of music and culture in Nagaland, alongside its pristine and un-spoilt nature that is visited by tourists.
Sechu-Zubza has a growing relationship with friends from Malaysia and Initiatives of Change, a global charity and network of individuals building bridges between different cultures to encourage peace, understanding and human security. Already friends in Malaysia have responded to enable Voices of the Hills to make a professional recording, as well as providing a concert hall for them to sing in. This two-week visit to Malaysia will have a huge impact on the choir members and the villages in their area. It will give the members a boost in confidence and they will have the opportunity to become ambassadors for their country and leaders and income earners in their country. It will also put Naga people firmly on the cultural map, and increase the social, business and cultural interaction between Naga people and Malaysia.
20% of the budget has already been achieved with contributions from well wishers, and mainly by fundraising amongst the choir members. To cover the cost of fares and expenses during their stay in Malaysia, we need to raise another 3000 Pounds for Voices of the Hills to make this life and world-changing visit to Malaysia in October. To support this project please click here to visit the crowd funding page and contribute what you can. Your contribution will make a significant impact and influence on the appreciation and practice of culture, that is key to the development of the Naga people.