Monkey on the Roof

by Music Basti

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Music Basti is a youth-run charity that organises music workshops in homes for street children. The music workshops are run by professional musicians, many of whom are successful recording artists.

We thought it would be an interesting idea to travel to Delhi, work with the musicians and the children to record an album of songs, and release it online. We wanted to do this for a few reasons, but the most important was simply to try and raise money for the charity.

All proceeds from the album sale will go to Music Basti to support their work, and hopefully bring it to the attention of a wider audience.

Artwork by Amitabh Kumar.


released June 10, 2011


Music Basti believes in music for community building and development. The program focuses on children-at-risk and urban youth through creating participative music education and exposure programs, and life-skills development to create and reinforce in children self-confidence, inclusion, participation, expression and fuller realization of their rights. Programs actively involve youth and artists communities in the processes of consultation, creation, implementation and evaluation.

Music Basti’s programs are managed and administered by Integrated Development Education Association (IDEA), an Indian non-governmental organization working for the empowerment of the powerless especially dalits, women and children, and differently gifted persons, with registration in 1991 under the Societies Registration Act (XXI of 1860).




Music Basti New Delhi, India

We enable music learning for children to nurture skills and confidence to achieve their best.

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Track Name: Practising the Sargam
Sa, Re, Ga ,Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni Sa,
Sa, Ni, Dha, Pa, Ma, Ga, Re, Sa.
Track Name: Daulat (Wealth)
Daulat Bari hai ya,
Shaurat bari hai ya,
Kismat bari hai ya,
Mohabbat... x 2
Humko Kya pari hai,
Hum toh saare sachche hai,
Jhooton ki is duniyaan mein,
Hum toh pyaare bachche hain. x 2
Goosphare bhi achi hain,
Police waale lete hain chori karke sina jori,
Neta ji yeh dete hain.
Hindu bara hain ya,
Muslim bara hain ya,
Sikh bara hain ya,
Ladke bara hain ya,
Ladki bari hain ya,
Gora bara hain ya,
Kalaa... x2
Bhed Bhav kyun karte ho,
Sab toh ek barabar hai,
Manav toh Manav hai,
Manav hi kyun danav hai.
Daulat... x 2.

Is wealth greater?
Is fame greater?
Is destiny greater?
Or is it love?

These questions don't bother us.
We're just being honest.
In this world of lies
We're just good, honest children

Through bribery and corruption
Instead of protecting us, the police steal from us
Whatever they give us, they took from us


Is Hindu best?
Is Muslim best?
Is Sikh best?
Or Christian?

Are boys best?
Are girls?
Is white skin best?
Or black?

Why do we discriminate
When everyone's equal
If all people are just people
Then why are people cruel to each other?

Is wealth greater? ... etc
Track Name: God's Love
It’s so wonderful,
God’s Love!
It’s so wonderful,
God’s Love!
It’s so wonderful,
Oh wonderful,
God’s Love!
Track Name: Practising the Sargam
Sa, Re, Ga ,Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni Sa,
Sa, Ni, Dha, Pa, Ma, Ga, Re, Sa.

Sa, Sa, Re, Re, Ga ,Ga, Ma, Ma, Pa, Pa, Dha, Dha, Ni, Ni, Sa, Sa.
Sa, Sa, Ni, Ni, Dha, Dha, Pa, Pa, Ma, Ma, Ga, Ga, Re, Re, Sa, Sa.
Track Name: Aasman mein chaayein Kaale Baadal (Stormy Clouds Across Clear Skies)
Aasman mein chaayein,
Kaale Baadal. X2

Ghannan, Ghannan,
Bijli Chamke x3

Assman mein chaayein,
Kaale Baadal. x3

Sannan Sannan nan,
Pawan Chali woh x2

Sannan Sannan nan,
Pawan Chali Toh.

Isi Jag mein,
Hariyali Chamke x2

Sannan Sannan nan,
Pawan Chali Dhamke.

(Repeat from the top.)

Dark clouds are spread across the skies,
lightning shines across the canvass in rhythmic splendour,
Feel the cool breeze blow, heralding the oncoming storm.
In this moment, let the world awake to a green grandeur.
Track Name: Kabir “dohe” (Proverbs or sayings by the mystic poet and saint Kabir) – A Medley
Dhim Tana,
Dhim Tana,
Dhim tana,
Dhere Na. x2

Dhim Tana,
Dhim Tana,
Dhim tana,
Dhere Na.

Maya Mari Na Mann Mara,
Mar Mar Gaye Shahrir. X2

Aasha Trishna na Mari,
Keh Gaye Sant Kabir. X2

Jese Til mein tel hai,
Jyon chak mak mein aag. X2

Tera sain tujh mein,
Jaag Sakhe to jaag. X2

Sain itna dijiye,
Ja mein Kutumbh samaj. X2

Mein bhi bhuka na rahoon,
Sadhu na bhuka jaiye. X2

Kesu kahan bigariyon,
Je munde sau baar. X2

Man ko kahe na mundiyon,
Jame basse vikar. X2

Mangan maran saman hai,
Mat koi mange bhi x2

Mangan se marna na mara,
Yeh sat guru ki sikh. X2

Dhim tana…”

(This song is a medley of couplets written by the poet Kabir. Hence, the lyrics to not have any internal coherence to them especially when translated to English.)

“Neither illusion nor the mind attain death,
Only the body may attain this state.

Hope and delusion do not die,
This was the message left by the Saint Kabir.”
“Like oil is inside its seed,
Just as fire is inside the flint stone

Your God is inside you,
If you have the power to wake it up, then wake it up.”

“Give us enough O God! Suffice to envelop my clan

I should not suffer cravings, nor should my visitors go unfed.”

“What harm has the hair on your body done, that you shave them a hundred times. 

Why not shave the mind, there grow unchecked countless poisonous thoughts.” (Why do we waste time on cleansing ourselves externally, when we should really be cleansing our thoughts on the inside).

“Begging is like dying, Let no one Beg .

It is better to die than to beg, this is the Sat-guru's Message.”
Track Name: Boondon Main (In Raindrops)
Sondhi si khushboo main nasha hai,
Jaise ek saab na apna hai,
Baadal yeh bares kyun nahin.

Sawan ab mujhe aisa rang dikhaye,
Saab phulon ke roop khilaye,
Barson, Barson re…

Boondon mein x3

Boondon mein aisa jadoo hai,
Har din dikhaye,
Sapne naye.

Boondon mein aisa jadoo hai,
Har dum, Har dil,
Jhoom uthe…

The enticing smell of the rain is addictive,
Oh clouds, why have you not rained?

The season of monsoon shows me such colours,
Now that the flowers are blossoming,
Rain! Rain down…

In droplets…

In every droplet there is magic,
That reveal to me new dreams every day,
To awake my every will,
My every desire.”

In droplets…
Track Name: Valentine Shipley's "Kabir"
Dhim Dham
Dherene Dham Dham x4

Sunle meri sada,
Rehta hai tu kahan. X2

Sanson Mein merit u hi basaa hai,
Dharkanon mein tera nasha hai. X2

Tu hai mera khuda x2

Hey hai… x2

Ganga nahale chaye,
Tilak laga re,
Karni ka likha hua,
Tale na tale. X2

Hey hai… x2

Who hai khiladi,
Mein hun khilona,
Karni ka likha,
Honi ka hona,
Holi ka hona.

Puja kar vale chaye
Havan kara le
Tale na tale.

Hey hai… x2

Dhim dham…

God listen to my prayers today,
Where are you?

In my every breath I can feel you.
My every heartbeat is addicted to the illusion of your presence.

You are my God.

You can bathe in the Ganges all you want,
And perform all the rituals you want,
But as long as you do not seize the day with action
Everything is insignificant.

For you see, it doesn’t matter who the creator is and who the person being controlled is,
In the end, the only thing that matters is that we take action in the time we have.

Next to this all rituals and prayer meetings are secondary.