The Dharavi Project – music for social good

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Mumbai, Jan 16 (IANS) The Dharavi Project, an initiative by Universal Music, will fund the expansion of a music and dance school in Dharavi, Asia’s biggest slum, which featured as the backdrop of Danny Boyle’s Oscar-winning “Slumdog Millionaire”.

The dance school was established in March 2014 by Qyuki.con, a multi-channel network, co-founded by filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, “Slumdog Millionaire” composer A.R. Rahman and Samir Bangara, former managing director (Digital), Disney India.

The school aims to discover fresh talent from Dharavi, nurture it through the programme and amplify it on a domestic and international scale via digital and traditional media.

Universal Music will deploy funds from its corporate social responsibility budget that will go towards basic infrastructure, rent, utilities and equipment for the students of the school.

To further enhance learning and exposure, the music giant will periodically bring in prominent singers, musicians, choreographers, producers and the like to mentor young artists from Dharavi, while Qyuki will amplify content via its digital broadcast network.

Universal Music Group International chairman and CEO Max Hole, who is in India currently, said: “Music has extraordinary power and I’m very proud to be here in Mumbai on behalf to help give these children an education in all aspects of making music.”

“Whether we produce stars out of the programme or simply a lifelong love of music, we will have succeeded in giving them a start along the path of discovery of this beautiful form of expression.”

Hole was also mighty impressed by an “extraordinary” performance by the SlumGods, a hip-hop crew from the shantytown, at the launch event of The Dharavi Project.

Oscar-winning composer Rahman is glad the project is “maturing into a platform that provides underprivileged children a level playing field with equal opportunity as their domestic and international peers”.

The Dharavi Project went live Thursday and will cover all elements in the making of a music star, including scouting talent, styling, mentoring, providing studio time, producing videos, optimising their online video presence across digital video platforms and eventually rewarding the most promising talent with a 360 degree label deal.

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