Artists Come Together and Raise Their Voices in Support of Women with New Album ‘We Stand With Her’
The project has been spearheaded by music curators Little Sounds, community organization BeBetter Collabs and Mumbai producer Bluesanova
When Mumbai-based music curators Little Sounds’ Romel Dias got chatting with community organization BeBetter Collabs’ Deeti Mehta, they were both mortified at the number of horrific events against women taking place across the country. Dias says, “Everyone we spoke to came from a space of anger and wanting to do something [for the better].” While Dias and Mehta wanted to work towards using art as an outlet to make a difference, they decided music would be the best form to voice their frustration.
The pair roped in Mumbai producer Darshan Lodhaya aka Bluesanova to help with the project and also 17-year-old writer Khushi Agarwal as well as a whole host of artists, including Nagaland folk siblings Tetseo Sisters, vocalists Aanchal Shrivastava and k o k u m and more to put together an album titled We Stand With Her in support of women.
Read excerpts from our interview with Dias below:
How did you go about choosing which musicians would be part of We Stand With Her?
We have worked with such amazing artists over the years not to mention the fact that we recently came off this really interesting collaborative space called Take Cover on Little Sounds. But apart from that, I think everyone was on board, Deeti reached out to artists she knew, Bluesanova got the likes of k o k u m, Maharya, Cizzy, Logarhythm and Tirtha on board. Everyone was excited and talking to artists was something that just came naturally. Maybe the final roster is more about which artists found a connect with the issue and wanted to vocalize their protest.
What can you tell me about the songs on the record?
We have six songs in six languages – English, Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Chokri (Nagaland) and Sanskrit. Every one of these is a standalone track that was written by all the lyricists to keep with our theme of dissent based songs focussed on the issue of violence against women.
“Jawab Chahiye” is such a dark cinematic vibe and while it is really short, this is exactly what can really get into your skin. “Free” is a gorgeously dark ballad. “La Té! Vé Té Ho! (Stop! Enough!)” is vibrant in the Tetseo Sisters trademark style but is also haunting at the same time with a strong message. “Chal Uthh” is a true tribute to folk songs and this is just such a high. “Inquilab” is possibly the fiercest track on the album.
What do you hope people take away from this project?
This is something we know everyone would like to talk about. The album is just a spark and we want this to ignite so many things going forward. Conversations, art, movements, pressure on sitting governments, legislation. There are no limits, everyone involved is taking their own route away from this and all of that will lead to change. Hopefully a safer country for non-male citizens.
How does it feel to have worked on something so valuable?
Immensely proud of everyone who came on board and made this possible. Deeti for not flinching and staying put through all the challenges we faced, effortlessly creating and helping produce so much. Bluesanova for digging his heels in, pushing for better always and turning this around in record time while everyone worked remotely. Every single artist who left nothing back and just brought their A-game on.
I know this is something we will look back on years ahead and be proud of. These are critical times and we rose up and were vocal. Hopefully, it matters and we see change, but even if we fail, at least we failed standing up for the things that mattered.
Watch the music video for “Jawab Chahiye” below and stream the rest of the songs here.