KOCHI: When Shawn and Tammy Samuel left the US for Kochi, they wanted to do their bit - to bring in a new music culture in Kerala, where the scene mostly is limited to film songs.
Aware of the fact that change often starts from children, they formed MyOneSong, an initiative that aims to cultivate interest in music and songwriting among children and youth, through music education, collaborative songwriting and artist development.
And, the couple, who both are singers and song writers, believe their effort has brought in a change, albeit a small one. “MyOneSong has been funded by social incubator ElevateX. Even while we were in the US, we had been active but then we thought we need to be here to oversee it. That’s when we decided to come back one-and-a-half years ago. Once we were here, we knew things are different here and independent music was yet to catch up. That’s when we decided to go to schools and start organising camps for students,” says Shawn.
The first camp MyOneSong did was at Aswasa Bhavan orphanage at Fort Kochi.
“We had already been conducting piano classes there. But, the camp was a different experience. We wanted the children to get a platform to learn more about independent music. Besides, the children at the orphanage, students of St Mary’s School at Chellanam also came for the camp. Learning about our venture, the authorities of St Mark’s school sent a few students. The camp organised in May 2014 was our first venture in this regard. It was a huge success,” adds Shawn.
Students from different walks were thrown together and asked to work on music and write song about their hometown Kochi. “What they had in mind about their city was beautiful. The song they created was made into a music video ‘Ente Kochi’, which we released on You Tube a few weeks ago. And, the response was overwhelming. A lot of people said that the song was a perfect anthem for Kochi,” says Shawn.
Tammy says the biggest advantage of the camp was that most children couldn’t believe that they had indeed made a song.
“Some children were good at writing Malayalam lines, some had a musical eye. When put as a team, they showed so much promise,” says Tammy.
Now, MyOneSong plans to focus on corporate establishments so as to help them bring employees with musical inclination to the fore. “A lot of corporate establishments have employees who are very much into music. Music sessions can make their team more relaxed and is very helpful in team-building process. We plan to be the middle men for such ventures,” says Shawn.
Tammy adds that MyOneSong also plans to spread their activities to colleges and youth organisations. We are also in talk with other musicians in India and the US to bring out a curriculum which we could rely on while working with children.