For almost three years, between early 2005 and late 2007 Harsha Praveen Tia Kansara lived in Iwaki City, Fukushima, Japan, working as an English language teacher in three high schools, for Japan's Ministry of Education. In this short time, she enjoyed the hospitality of the people so much that she considered the place a second home.
"The local people invited me to understand and explore the true Japan. I felt loved and cared for," she says.
When the earthquake shook Japan in March killing hundreds of people, Kansara, a PhD researcher and a trained classical musician, felt the loss at a personal level. "When I heard about the devastation I was in Abu Dhabi doing my field research. I turned the television on to see the tsunami then the earthquake... and broke down into tears. I felt so helpless as I was unable to contact any of my friends there."
She knew she had to do something. "I wondered what I could do. In my mind I remembered songs that helped me through difficult times. I could sing a song, but where would I record it? I was unfamiliar with recording studios in Abu Dhabi but I knew in my heart I must help." So she penned the lyrics of a song titled Ganbappe Iwaki in Japanese.
"The song is meant to spread hope amidst despair, to show the Japanese that they are not alone during the crisis. It is also a young woman's tribute to a country that she loves."
"The song was to remind my friends in Iwaki that wherever I was, I was thinking about them. Ganbatte in Japanese is to ‘do your best'. Ganbatte is pronounced ‘ganbappe' in the Iwaki dialect."
Kansara teamed up with Pure Sounds Studios and the following week they produced a music video.
"This video would have been impossible without Taha Al Ajami, Ahmad Arshi and Abdullah Hassan (from Pure Sounds)," says Kansara. On July 30, the video was released on YouTube and iTunes. Kansara also created a donation site to raise money.
For more information please visit www.justgiving.com/tiakansara