On the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson's iconic anthem, "Heal the World", Mumbai-based folk music duo Maati Baani decided to pay a unique tribute to their idol by releasing a cover of the song performed by 45 child artists from all over the world.
Maati Baani, comprising guitarist Kartik Shah and vocalist Nirali Kartik, released the song on 29 August, Jackson's birth anniversary. "We are living in times which are not peaceful. We witness violence directly or indirectly everyday," Nirali Kartik told HuffPost India. "We felt that it was the right time to do this and a great way to send a message to people affected by violence that we care and we are with you."
The music video features 45 children between the ages of 5 and 13 from India, South Africa, Russia, Canada, Japan and the United States, displaying an eclectic array of musical styles. There's a percussionist playing on a washing machine, a rapper, drummers, a tabla player, a violinist, twin tap dancers, a harpist, electric guitarists, vocalists and musical choirs.
"These are all gifted, highly talented children who have come together to ask us for a better future," Kartik said.
While the youngest of the lot is 5-year-old tabla player Shayaan Udeshi, there's also a special rap sequence by Indian-American singer Sparsh Shah. The 13-year-old, who was born with a disease that has caused his bones to become fragile, became an internet sensation some months ago when he released an inspiring cover of Eminem's 2010 single, "Not Afraid".
The collaboration for the video was done entirely online, over a period of nine months, through Skype rehearsals and exchanges. Each young musician was sent their sequence from song, which they recorded and sent back to Maati Baani, who then edited the piece and re-sent it to the children before finalising it. "The beauty of an online collaboration is that none of the kids knew who all they were collaborating with," Kartik said. "So for them, watching the video was like opening a surprise packet."
Maati Baani are known for their frequent international artistic collaborations, and say that this has been their largest one till date. "The response has been overwhelming. It was sort of a rebirth for us," Kartik said. "The interest generated shows that the world needs love and hope more than ever."