Monkey on the Roof

Today we helped launch an online music project we’re very proud to be involved in – Music Basti’s ‘Monkey on the Roof‘ album.

In essence, Monkey on the Roof is an album featuring recordings of Delhi street children singing songs with professional musicians. We’re selling the recording online to raise money for the Music Basti charity. The album was produced by our own Ian Wallman and was made possible through a research project by the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research.

Best thing about it is that the website is full of videos where you can see how the album was made, meet the children, learn about the amazing work that Music Basti do, and learn just what an incredible impact that music has on the lives of these kids affected by poverty.

Go explore the website and make sure you get yourself a copy of the album – for whatever you think it’s worth. And if you can help spread the word, we’d really appreciate it – and so would they.

Clapping exercises

When people ask me about my favourite music video, I’m going to be tempted to point them towards this clip. It’s not a famous band singing a popular song, and nor does it have any amazing special effects.

This was filmed as we were setting up to record a song at a home for girls in Delhi. Suhail from the band Advaita leads a clapping and counting exercise that, on the face of it, is a very simple warmup exercise for a bunch of kids.

But when you see the faces on these street kids, all of whom have had a life of poverty, deprivation and cruelty – you start to see how meaningful this simple activity really is, and why Music Basti is such an important project.

Music Basti – A warm arrival


After a long series of flights, we eventually arrived in Delhi and went straight from the airport to the gorgeous farmhouse we were staying at.

There was some initial excitement when the local monkeys decided that they wouldn’t let us near the swimming pool, and chased us away – but we eventually managed to come to an arrangement with them, and I spoke to Ian about what we had come to do.

But there wasn’t too much time for swimming, as Faith and her team from Music Basti arrived to tell us about the project and how it works, and to hear what we had in mind for the recordings.