Prime Minister Narendra Modi has collaborated with Grammy Award-winning Indian-American singer Falguni Shah for a special song to promote the benefits of millets and their potential to alleviate world hunger.
The ‘Abundance in Millets’ song, performed by Mumbai-born singer-songwriter Falguni Shah and her husband and singer Gaurav Shah, is set for release on June 16, across streaming platforms.
The year 2023 has been designated as the ‘International Year of Millets’ (IYM) after a proposal for it was brought forward by India and endorsed by Members of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) governing bodies, as well as by the 75th Session of the U.N. General Assembly.
“Prime Minister Modi has written a song with me and my husband Gaurav Shah,” Ms. Shah said.
She said the song, written in English and Hindi, will be made accessible to everybody and highlights the power of millets.
“Falu and Gaurav Shah will release the track ‘Abundance in Millets’ featuring Mr. Modi on June 16 in celebration of the International Year of Millets. ‘Abundance in Millets’ was created to raise awareness of the super grain as another potential key to minimising world hunger,” said a statement on Ms. Shah’s website.
Ms. Shah, who received the Grammy Award for Best Children’s Album in 2022 for her album ‘A Colorful World’, said the idea to write a song about millets came to her when she met Mr. Modi in New Delhi last year after her Grammy win.
She said Mr. Modi suggested to her she should write a song with a message of ending hunger during their discussion on the power of music to bring change and uplift humanity.
Since music transcends boundaries, Mr. Modi suggested writing a song on millets, she said.
Ms. Shah said Mr. Modi told her that India promotes millets because it is a super grain and has immense health and nutritional value.
She said she very “naively” asked the Mr. Modi if he would write the song with her and he agreed.
“We have collaborated on the song, it’s a single and it’s coming out on June 16″ with a worldwide release on every streaming platform, she said.
The song will be released in Hindi and English, Ms. Shah said, adding that it will be translated into other regional languages to ensure a widespread reach.
Ms. Shah said she was initially nervous about writing the song with Mr. Modi, but the whole collaboration happened in a very organic way.
“It’s one thing to write for him and it’s one thing to write with him. In the middle of the song, you will hear the speech that he has written and narrated in his own voice,” she said.
Ms. Shah said she is “honoured” and “humbled” to collaborate with Mr. Modi on the millets song.
“It is a lifetime opportunity for any artist”, she said.
Millets were among the first crops to be domesticated in India with several evidence of its consumption during the Indus Valley civilization.
Grown in more than 130 countries at present, millets are considered traditional food for more than half a billion people across Asia and Africa.
The New York-based artist underlined that the song aims to promote millets and help farmers to grow more and try to end hunger in various parts of the world.
“What better to have a song and music tied along with the message that we can actually solve hunger problems in the world,” she said.
“If we can supply the world with millets, which is a very easy way of farming and growing, this grain can really help end the biggest problem in the world which is hunger and also uplift farmers, local and smaller farms,” she said.