Grammy® Award Winner, US Billboard #1 artist, Ricky Kej joins hands with refugees, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP), to release the song “Shine Your Light”- Song by Refugees.
The song, performed in four different languages (English, Dari, Farsi, and Pashto) by 24 young refugee musicians living in India, invites listeners to celebrate our shared humanity, our togetherness and solidarity with those who need us the most in this difficult time. The song features Ricky Kej, Neeti Mohan, Salim Merchant, and Aditya Narayan.
“When the refugee musicians heard the finished song for the first time, their eyes were filled with tears,” said Grammy award winner and composer, Ricky Kej.
The refugee youth shared their heart-breaking stories of watching loved ones being kidnapped or killed, forced to flee the comfort of their homes, and leave everything they knew behind in order to find safety in a new country. India gave them hope, a place to nurture their talents and culture and a place to call home. Through this project, we hope to share the experiences and talent of young refugee musicians to advocate for greater support and offer hope to other 80 million refugees around the world.
Speaking during the launch, the UNHCR Chief-of-Mission in India, Oscar Mundia said “I deeply appreciate the energy, dedication and support from Ricky Kej, who has worked tirelessly with the refugee musicians to uplift their spirits during this pandemic and provided them a chance to fulfil their dreams,” he continued “Music is a language we all understand and share, and I hope this song will help strengthen the bond between refugees and host communities.”
When asked about his experience over the past two-months, Ricky said, “It was encouraging to work with such talented youth. I am impressed at what we have produced together.” From singing, composing, and playing musical instruments during the production process, each step was mentored and guided by Ricky.
Ms. Aura, a refugee musician from Myanmar who has been working on this project observed that, “Although I am familiar with composing and singing songs, this mentorship has taught me about music production in its entirety. I learnt so much from Ricky.” Contributing her lyrics and seeing it come to life through the song has empowered Aura to shine her light and pray for hope and solidarity in this world.
Throughout history, India has welcomed refugees from all over the world. Some of the refugee communities in India would have lost their heritage, culture, and language were it not for India’s nurturing and protecting these communities under its pluralistic framework. Within this background, the Ricky for refugee’s initiative builds on this chartered history and approach.