|(original article appeared in India New England on September 23, 2015)|
WALTHAM, MA– The four nightingales from the Women of the World, an all-women music group born at Berklee College of Music, stole the heart and soul of the audience who came to support Saheli-Boston. (Photo: Rasik Mehta)
“It was such an honor for Women of the World to be part of Saheli’s Nirbhaya event this year,” said Annette Philip, one of the members of the band. “The work that you all do to uplift women is commendable, and needs to be supported by our community. At Women of the World, we truly believe that open dialogue is one of the most powerful ways to bring about change. We look forward to continuing to support your mission to eradicate domestic violence through music, story-telling, and community building work.”
Saheli, a non-profit community-based organization that is dedicated to empowering South Asian women and their families, held its fundraising gala on Sept. 18 at Westin Hotel in Waltham, MA, and raised over $80,000, exceeding its original goal. The event was chaired by Anu Chitrau and co-chaired by Dr. Manju Sheth, MD. The fundraising efforts during the gala were led by two local entrepreneurs: Geeta Aiyer and Rama Ramakrishnan.
Boston-based Women of the World was founded in 2008 by Ayumi Ueda from Japan. She was joined later by Philip from India, Giorgia Renosto from Italy and Deborah Pierre from Haiti. The group recently completed a five-week tour in Japan and China and performed at several theaters in New York and Washington, DC, including the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Next year, WOW, as the group is known, is scheduled to perform in Israel and San Francisco.
WOW Women was founded at Berklee with the goal of bringing musicians from all over the world onto a common creative platform. Having toured in North America, Hawaii, Canada, and Asia, WOW performs a vast and diverse repertoire, currently spanning 29 languages.
“It was a wonderful experience for all of us to wear saris for the first time. We found that we walked and held ourselves differently – we felt regal,” said Philip, who usually wears saris for all WOW concerts, but for all four of the band members to actually perform in full traditional Indian attire was so enriching.
The audience loved the song “Ye jo des hai tera, swades hai tera, tujhe hai pukaara” sung by the WOW band.