The Optimist Citizen

An attempt by STRISVARA to bring tribal and international musicians on a single platform to empower thousands across the globe

Moved by the Delhi Rape incident, Arun Sivag, a specialist in Latin and African music, decided to use music as a tool to empower women across the globe and started STRISVARA. With a new musical journey featuring tribal and international musicians, it is attempting to create a new octave of freedom and awareness

Arun Sivag began his musical journey when he was a child. Spending time with veteran musicians and street theatre artists who were striving to spread awareness about child labour and women empowerment, music and art became his passion. A specialist in Latin and African music, Arun worked for famous Bollywood singers. He taught music to children who were caught in the malicious web of child labour and aspired long to use music as a medium for change.

So, when Arun returned from Sweden after his education in world music, he established TreeonZ with his friend, Subash, which provided a platform for budding musicians. Under TreeonZ, he brought international bands to perform in slums and government-run educational institutions in Bangalore. In this attempt of coalescing social change with music, he got more than 150 such musicians to perform in Bangalore. TreeOnZ also worked on many cultural exchange programs to unite various diverse communities.

However, after the Delhi Rape incident, bands refused to perform in India. Understanding the severity of the incident, Arun decided to use music as a tool to empower women. He found success when an audience comprising of more than 1000 women, enjoyed and appreciated the performance of a 35-piece band, “Kiriaka”, 27 of whom were women.

It was during this period, that Arun stumbled across the Soliga tribe in the Biligirirangan Hills. A self-sufficient, self-sustainable community where males and females share equal status, this tribe is a home to expert musicians who view music as a part of life. Also, they have long sung songs to protect tigers and the nature and Arun found this an ingenious form of social activism. Finding the Soliga tribe as an epitome of music and gender equanimity, TreeonZ decided to launch the STRISVARA project. Thus Strisvara came out as an attempt to highlight the melody of women along with various other social causes. It planned to bring 5 international female musicians, 5 Indian female musicians, and 5 artists from this tribe to exchange music over a period of 14 days.

Arun Sivag- Founder, STRISVARA
Arun Sivag- Founder, STRISVARA

Across the 14 days, the musicians will be joined by women social entrepreneurs and activists who will help the participants to inspire social change after returning to their hometowns. Also, on the 15th day, the 5 tribal musicians will travel to schools, colleges and other venues all over Bengaluru to give the urban community a taste of raw folk music. The initiative which officially started on 10th September 2016 was supported by a crowd-funding campaign on Milaap, which helped them raise over $3000. In the future, Arun hopes to make the project sustainable and profitable for the tribals by helping them perform their art among a wider audience.

But the attempt of Arun Sivag and TreeonZ has indeed opened up a sliver of hope for hundreds of women across the globe who can now not only showcase their music and art to a large audience but also use it as a means to empower thousands who are exploited on the basis of their gender.


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