I was lucky enough to be chatting on the phone to this rather wonderful lady last week....
Her name is Sudha Kheterpal, and she is the driving force behind SPARK, the musical instrument that might just change the world.
Here's Sudha speaking at a recent Tedx event in Mumbai, to explain more.
During a successful 20-year career as a professional percussionist and a member of the popular 90s dance band Faithless, Sudha regularly played in front of hundreds of thousands of fans. And it was during this time that she first pondered the idea of whether the incredible energy created at a music event could be harnessed in some way. At one particular gig in Brazil, the Faithless devotees stomped so hard as they listened to the track ‘We Come One’, that they caused a mini earthquake.
Twenty years later and the device in Sudha’s hands is the fruit of her vision.
Developed with a range of partners as part of her Shake Your Power business, SPARK is a percussion shaker that charges a battery as it is played.
And that energy can be used – you just plug in a light or charge up a mobile phone with it, perfect for communities such as those living in places like Kenya, where 75% of people live off the grid. Just 12 minutes of playing gets you one hour of light.
“Yes, SPARK will offer power and light to those that most need it,” she tells me. “But it will also help educate people too. We will develop an assembly kit for the shakers, allowing people to develop their own power – quite literally – learning science, technology, engineering and music along the way.”
The latest phase in the evolution of SPARK will see Sudha’s Kickstarter funding used to manufacture 1,000 of the products and sent to communities around the world.
When we spoke on the phone, Sudha had just returned from an exhaustive trip to China, trying to find a suitable manufacturer that meets her stringent ethical standards. The supplier was been found and now it’s all systems go for the device made from recycled ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene), which is small enough for kids to handle and makes a “lovely, crispy, crunchy” sound. “We now need to do some serious awareness-raising. Let’s create clean energy through music,” she says.
Sudha’s aim is simple: to transform the lives of people that need power to support their day-to-day lives. And for that power to be created by something that plays such an important role in people’s everyday lives: music.
If you’re at one of this summer’s music festivals, look at for Sudha and her instrument as she continues to SPARK a revolution in the way communities in the developing world access power. “Rather than people waving their mobile phones in the air at this summer’s concerts, we want them to playing along with their SPARK instead.”
You can check out Sudha’s Tedx talk here. If you’re interested in buying, manufacturing or distributing SPARK, get in touch with Sudha at firstname.lastname@example.org. Using a TOMS-like model, if you buy one shaker here in the Western world, Shake Your Power will send one to off-grid areas in the developing world.
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