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Stars sing in India charity appeal and adapt hit West End stage song ‘It means beautiful’ (see video)

Music video sees performers come together to make a video and encourage donations…

MOVED by what is happening in India due to a rising second wave of corona virus infections there, more than 30 UK-based artists of South Asian and Middle Eastern heritage launched a charity appeal through a unique music video.

Coming together under the banner, ‘Same Voices Unite’, they adapted the song ‘It means beautiful’ from the hit West End show, ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ and launched the appeal.

The video is gaining momentum with more than 5,00 views on Youtube and has raised over £40,000 in just a few days.

Irvine Iqbal

Getting permission from the producers and writers of the show and the song, project director and the man behind the actual video, Irvine Iqbal, gave it an Indian flavour. He brought together Indian classical musicians and dancers.

He invited West End stars with South Asian and Middle eastern heritage to lend their voices to the appeal and got other creatives to help make the video.

The actor who has featured in West End shows, ‘Aladdin’ and ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ musical, told “None of us have slept over the last few weeks – the situation in India is terrible with covid infection rates toppling more than 20 million and you feel so helpless.

“Being of south Asian heritage we know the systems there and how slow things can be – with poverty and the infrastructure.

“People need help and we wanted to do something.”

Sejal Keshwala

Iqbal said he spoke initially to Howard Goodall, the composer who helped to bring the musical, ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ to the stage and they thought the ‘It means Beautiful’ song from the hit West End musical, ‘Everybody’s Talking about Jamie’ might work as a track on which to launch the appeal.

“We knew Sej (Sejal Keshwala) and Hiba Elchikhe from the show and knew they were friendly with the producers and got them to ask whether we could use it,” Iqbal told acv.

He liked the song ‘It means beautiful’, because it is very inclusive and in the actual show, it is sung by a character who is Muslim and of South Asian origin.

The musical ‘Everybody’s talking about Jamie’ revolves around 16-year-old schoolboy, Jamie who is struggling with his identity and finds it, by becoming a successful performing artist and drag queen. His best friend is a hijab-wearing schoolgirl called Pritti.

Hiba Elchikhe

“I thought it really resonates,” explained Iqbal. “The message is beautiful.”

In the video, deaf actor Nadia Nadarajah can also be seen.

“It was deaf awareness week and I knew about her from when I was in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s ‘The Boy in the Dress’ (2019) production – she is great and we had Deepa Shastri help with the sign language so she could interpret the song.”

He then brought others together for the production of the video.

“I tried to get as many creatives as I could behind it,” said Iqbal. “We had the idea for the song and then got a structure and a creative team in place.”

Nadia Nadarajah

The original song is written and composed by Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom Macrae, who wrote ‘Everybody’s Talking about Jamie’.

The creative team for Same Voices Unite was led musically by Dan De Cruz.

“We go back to working on ‘The Far Pavilions together’,” revealed Iqbal. “He did an amazing job. We didn’t want to overpower the song with the Indian elements, it’s very subtle with tabla, bansuri and the sitar.”

All the artists gave their time freely and the video was shot in one location on one evening in London Soho club, Freedom.

“The gay community were among the first people who offered to help – they opened their arms to this.

Shiv Rabheru and Kayleigh Thadania
Jassa Ahulawalia

“We recorded it all in one night – our costs were just water and refreshments.”

The video features stars and well-known names such as Jassa Ahluwalia and Tony Jayawardene, as well as upcoming talent.

“Everybody I asked wanted to help and those of Middle eastern heritage also came on board as they are our friends and neighbours and countries in the region have similar issues.

Tony Jayawardene

“I wanted to get good upcoming talent and people you wouldn’t recognise as well,” added Iqbal.

Some 50 creatives in all contributed their time to making the video and are listed in full underneath the Youtube video (see below).

The West End production of ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ returned to the Apollo Theatre in London on May 20.

The group Same Voices Unite teamed up with One Family Global, Dasra, and the Amir Khan Foundation and their Emergency Support: India campaign.

You can donate here

More from Irvine Iqbal here 👇

Below best seen on tablet or desktop (larger screen)

From top left in rows: Soophia Foroughi; Shahid Abbas Khan; Raj Ghatak; Nadia Nadarajah; Irfan Damani; Anoushka Chadha. 2 Faye Weerasinghe; Joe Thompson Oubari; Liam Tamne; Shiv Rabheru; Tanveer Singh Devgun; Hiba Elchikhe; Nadeem Naaman 3- Sabrina Sandhu; Ninita Johal; Rakesh Boury; Sejal Keshwala; Arjun Blair-Mangat; Tony Jayawardene; Kush Khanna 4 – Nuwan Hugh Perara; Kayaleigh Thadani; Karl Seth; Jassa Ahulwalia; Harveen Mann; Rekha; Sharif Afifi 5 – Olivia Wylie; Zara Naeem; Sharan Phull; Tim Mahendran and Hannah Qureshi

Lead Image: Anoushka Chadha (image on home page for mobiles only)

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture