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People's Tent

People's Tent

Welcome to the musicians and performers who are Friends and Supporters of Action Village India

and Madras Café. 

Welcome to the musicians and performers who are Friends and Supporters of Action Village India

and Madras Café. 

One of WOMAD’s ‘institutions’ is the Madras Café; a part of this world music festival since it began. The Café was started by supporters of Action Village India, both to create tasty, vegetarian dishes and to raise awareness of and support for Action Village India’s partners across rural India.

Since being founded thirty years ago in 1989, Action Village India has been run by people inspired by India and united in the belief that every man, woman and child in rural India has the right to take control of their lives and livelihoods and to prosper in fair and equal communities.

We believe that the way forward for communities in India should be led by the women, men and children in the communities where our grassroots partners work.  Our support is founded on the two principles that are at the core of Action Village India - partnership and solidarity.

Integral over the three decades are people who have been inspiring and taking forward this commitment.  We have become a community for people whose lives have been strongly influenced by their contact with India and want to remain in touch with the country and to support those they have seen first-hand tackling rural poverty and injustice.

As part of Madras Café Unlocked we are proud to share some of the music, art and creativity of some of the musicians and performers who are friends and supporters of Action Village India and Madras Café.

This is also a chance for Madras Café Unlocked festival-goers to get to know a kaleidoscope of musicians, performers and artists.  Each will share something that they feel is just right for our festival.


Please explore and enjoy!

Welcome to the People’s Tent

Our welcome to our ‘People’s Tent’ is co-founder of WOMAD in 1982 and producer and promoter of world music in many ways including through Real World Studios and Real World Records - Peter Gabriel.


Peter shares his message of solidarity, support and commitment to Madras Café and Action Village India.


“One of the great pleasures of going to WOMAD has been the chance to visit Madras Cafe, despite the fact the longest lines are usually outside I join them very happily because I know I am going to get a wonderful meal and the work they’ve been doing for so many years makes a huge difference with Action Village India and they deserve a lot of recognition for what they’ve done, very selflessly, with so many volunteers making such a difference to many people in another country.”

Sumangala Damodaran from India

I am delighted to be a part of the People’s Tent of Madras Café Unlocked. I want to take this opportunity to extend my solidarity with the various activities of the Ekta Parishad and also other organisations working with marginalised communities, especially in these bleak times.

I would like to share some of my responses since March 2020 to these Dark Times.  I sang with my daughter Neelambari BhattacharyaSounds of the Soul - Singing in the Dark Times’ hosted  by  Dr. Swati Desai of Samanvay Space 

I would also like to share three articles in The Wire,

In these Dark Times I have also greatly appreciated Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poem Ab Tum Hi Kaho Kya Karna Haifrom his last collection ‘Ghub’bar-e-Ayyam’ (1984). This poem was possibly written when Faiz went into voluntary exile in Beirut, following Zia-ul-Haq’s ascendance to power in Pakistan. The composition is brought alive with the instrumental responses from Mark Aranha, Pritam Ghosal and Ahsan Ali

Please find Sumangala’s compilation of 9 ‘Songs of Protest’ on Spotify. As well as her artist link. 

Janmejay Singh, Ekta Parishad, India and Jai Jagat

Greetings from Janmejay Singh from Ekta Parishad in Bhopal, India

I support Action Village India and its partners across India and Madras Café because I admire their work towards food security and humanitarian support, especially their activities in rural India.

I would like to share a music video of the Jai Jagat Global Peace Movement's experience in Armenia with you because it is in harmony with the principles reflected by Madras Café and Action Village India.

The Jai Jagat Global Peace Movement is a campaign for Nonviolence and Peace. 50 Peace activists from across the world gathered in Delhi on 2nd October, 2019 and started a one year walk all the way from Delhi to Geneva across 10 countries. The song is our campaign's theme, composed uniquely as a surprise gift by Srbuhi, a musician we met in Armenia thanks to her brother and musical collaborator Agabeg. It was a precious gift, and upon returning from Armenia due to the Covid crisis, we decided that this would be the most fitting melody to encompass our experience.

Kishore Shah, Khadi London

My name is Kishore Shah from Khadi cic in London.

Khadi London and I support Action Village India and its partners across India and Madras Café because I have been impressed with long term partnerships AVI has nurtured with organisations and communities in India, partnerships based on the mutual exchange of experiences and ideas

I would like to share a blog ‘Weaving from Within: Narratives from Kutch’ with you because it is a unique multimedia experience with text, photos and embedded discussions coming together to give the viewer a rare experience.  

The blog is based on the first in a series of webinars which were organised by Khamir earlier in the year. The event gave us a live experience of how the young weavers of Kutch are returning to weaving and devotional music.


Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination

Hello from Ruth Sapsed from Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination/CCI which is an arts and well-being charity.


I support Action Village India and its partners across India and Madras Cafe because of the wonderful work they do to support communities.


We wanted to share this Fantastical Map of the Offords for your exhibition in the People’s Tent as it was co-created by young children, artists, educators and families from a community in a small village in rural Cambridgeshire. It celebrates all their real and imaginary discoveries. We believe that inviting children to lead us and sharing creative adventures together helps us feel more connected to ourselves, to each other and to the world around us. At the end of our project Zac said ‘I notice every other little detail in life now’ and Lestyn said ‘I feel different on my inside because of different experiences with nature’. Like you we believe in the power of communities to work together to transform their world.

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Blue Granits

We are the Blue Granits (Tom Stanton guitarist / singer/ writer and Dr Brian Dakin aka Billy Spakemon writer singer, percussionist). We are based in Oldbury part of the wonderful Black Country (West Midlands).

We have an affinity with the work with the work of Action Village India it's partners and the Madras Cafe as a great deal of our own work is with community groups, hospitals, care sector and schools. Much of our work is charity based, being resident Buskin for Charity volunteers at Russell Hall Hospital in Dudley. Also I host and Tom guests on my community local radio show The Omma N Chain (Black Country Radio). History, identity, place and fun are the core elements in our work.

We want to share our songs and poetry, which are steeped in Black Country language and history. You’ll find us on FaceBook and our new YouTube channel, The Blue Granites We often organise events that give a platform to other Black Country based artists and at the same time raise money for local charities.

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Idit Nathan and Helen Stratford

Hello from Idit Nathan and Helen Stratford from Cambridge and Ely

We feel now more than ever it is important to act in solidarity and share creative work that is critical. We believe play has the power to transcend boundaries and solicit creative engagement by all and would like to offer our contribution for the fundraising efforts.

We would like to share Home (not quite) Alone and Home (not quite) Alone Too. These are part of a wider set of accessible works. We created these low tech, highly accessible works in order to be able to share them as widely as possible and get people of all ages and abilities to play, wherever they are.

To find out more about our work please visit Follow us on twitter @playanywherenow,  Facebook @playanywherenowornever or Instagram @playanywherenow.

Home (not quite) Alone Too.jpg

Nin peru Keralam Song || നിൻ പേര് കേരളം || A Musical Tribute to Covid Warriors of Kerala

Greetings from Dr Reji Thomas, Subini Nair Dr. S.Gopakumar and Dr.Saji George from South India we strongly support the partnership that Action Village India has with communities across our country, especially during the challenging times we are experiencing due to Covid.

We want to share with you Nin peru Keralam നിൻ പേര് കേരളം which is our musical tribute to the Covid warriors. This video is presented in the backdrop of our home state Kerala, to inspire all to continue their untiring efforts.


It has been widely recognised that the response from all health workers, community volunteers, government workers and our State government has not only saved lives and people’s livelihoods but it has strengthened our communities. We are proud that the WHO recently confirmed that the many dimensions of Kerala’s response to Covid “could serve as a great example for other states to emulate”.


This song and film 'Ameya Raga' which essentially means "Boundless World… Boundless Music, is a heartfelt tribute to all in Kerala who made and continue to make this response to Covid possible.


"Wish the pandemic pass, yet a painful memory

With the perseverance, soon we will sing our victory"

Pinkie Agrawal 

Namaste from Pinkie Agrawal in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India                                            

I support Action Village India because of its genuine work for rural India.

I would like to share one of my songs Ye Raatein Ye Mausam because I want to be part of Action Village India! 


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