About Us

Songbound is an outreach initiative that brings the transformative power of music to some of India’s poorest and most marginalised children. Since 2012 we have been working with local partners to set up and sustain children’s choirs. Our students rehearse weekly in a safe environment, preparing for performances throughout the year.

Since our foundation, Songbound has built up a network of 25 choirs – impacting the lives of over 500 children per year. Choirs are conducted by local Choir Leaders, who come from a wide variety of Indian and Western musical backgrounds. Choir Leaders receive training from international vocal experts and collaborate with these world-leading musicians on performance projects. These projects play a vital part in helping the children to develop confidence, musicality, and teamwork, whilst enjoying the benefits of singing in a choir.

Why Singing?

Voices are free and music is good for us: it helps to soothe, increase focus and diminish aggression. Singing with others develops team skills, respect for others and encourages a sense of belonging and self-esteem. For us at Songbound, a choir isn’t just about sharing in the joy of singing together; it’s also about learning how to integrate yourself fully into a community both as an individual and team-player.

Our Syllabus

Our syllabi are designed to address issues relevant to the children’s lives, whilst helping to broaden their horizons. Songbound promotes music from all around the world and the children enjoy singing in a multitude of languages. To help contextualise the singing, each term is given a theme that relates to the time of year. Syllabus themes are chosen by our Choir Leaders and have recently included: peace, friendship, rain and colour. During public festivals such as Diwali, Eid or Christmas, children learn relevant festive songs to encourage shared celebration and enjoyment of different beliefs.

In addition to songs taught to them, our children compose their own songs with the help of Choir Leaders and visiting artists. Composing the lyrics and melodies for these songs provides the children with a deeply personal involvement with syllabus themes. It is also a unique opportunity to create something they can be proud to call their own.

How We Started

Songbound was founded by Joe Walters in 2012 following the documentary he produced with director Sarah McCarthy: the Sound of Mumbai. This film is about the hopes and dreams of a newly formed children’s choir in one of Mumbai’s many slum communities. During filming he realised how deeply affected the children were by singing and vowed to try to replicate the opportunity for as many children across India as possible. But he didn’t want the experience to be a one off – this needed to be a programme that provided children with regular musical activity. Songbound was born: a weekly opportunity for children to escape their unpredictable lives through the safehaven of singing with friends.

Project Songbound

Project Songbound is an internet-based song-writing initiative. It gives our children the chance to write their own songs in collaboration with musicians and schools across the globe. Project Songbound provides all participants with unique cultural dialogues and a sense of shared creative ownership.