Spotlight On…Nimo (Nimesh Patel)
“Giving back and growing internally”
Nimesh Patel (known as Nimo) found success in his twenties as a musician and music producer, but despite fulfilling his apparent dream, he found himself haunted by the feeling that there must be something more for him.
Thankfully for social artists around the world, one fateful evening Nimo was invited by friends to watch a show called EKTA which spotlighted the talents of 15 interfaith children who lived in temporary housing settlements in India. For Nimo, the show shifted something internally and he began to re-imagine his ideas of what it was to be rich and privileged in this world. In the young children on stage he saw an inner richness, a warmth and integrity that, despite their apparent lack of societal privilege, was keeping their lives rich and enriching the lives of those who came into contact with them.
After that night, Nimo embarked on a journey of self discovery and personal growth that led him to close down the media production house he had founded, move to the Gandhi Ashram and focus deeply on personal development. After some time he began to have a clear vision of what he wanted to do next in his life. He wanted to focus on “giving back and growing internally.”
Nimo did just that, launching into a project that involved deeply embedding himself in temporary communities, often referred to as ‘slums’, and building strong bonds with the children he met there, teaching them song, dance and theater. Together, Nimo and the young people conceived and created a 90 minute show which they called Ekatva (a Sanskrit word that means Oneness). After performing the show a few times in India, Nimo was invited to bring the group to the US and Europe where they were received with joy.
“We must be the change we wish to see…”
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to catch up with Nimo to find out more about his next big adventure. Having worked so closely with a group of young people, I’m really curious to find out what challenges Nimo sees our youth facing today. “Different kids in different situations face different challenges,” he says. “On one level, many children in 3rd world countries face lack of resources to enable them the basic opportunities for healthy growth. On top of that another major challenge is the culture of love, kindness and selflessness that is lacking not only in peer groups, but in mentors as well. The world needs a spiritual evolution from within to move close towards oneness and help eradicate suffering.”
Now, Nimo has finally returned to using his gift for music having taken a long break from creating or producing any work of his own. “After realizing the impact that the music and videos have been having on people’s lives, it really inspired me to want to connect with individuals and communities in person, and share space and spirit with them.”
With that in mind, Nimo has embarked on the next chapter of his incredible journey into the world of heart-led social art, embarking on an eight month tour around the US and Europe which he is calling The Empty Hands Pilgrimage.
“The tour is dedicated to spreading seeds of kindness and love through stories and song.” Nimo has a strong vision for this tour, but it isn’t a detailed, all encompassing plan. Instead he is offering a curious exploration in performance in which he hopes to get back as much from his audience as he gives to them. “I would like the tour to be a series of small events that plant seeds of goodness, reflection, inner transformation, joy and kindness in small ways- through intimate interactions.”
I’m curious as to why Nimo has chosen the term pilgrimage, and I ask him how this tour differs from other music tours. “The shows are aimed to provide moments of reflection, inter-connectedness, community engagement and love. Thus no shows are really in concert venues. Instead, most events are in homes, community centers, spiritual spaces, schools etc, where there are real opportunities to engage, share and interact.”
In fact, nothing about Nimo’s way of working is traditional. “The gatherings are being offered as gifts,” he says. “There is no charge. All the shows are arising through the community reaching out and asking to host an evening. We are not trying to push shows and events, but rather to let the community “pull” and organically create what they would like to see emerge. We are traveling a path through America. Whatever cities we do not have hosts for events, we will just take time out to find a way to serve the community, connect with nature or sit in stillness, meditation and reflection.”
“The music should be a reflection of our own change”
Nimo’s work is undoubtedly inspiring. I ask him what advice he has for someone who is interested in using music to try to bring about positive change in the world. “I would bring it back to what Mahatma Gandhi said: We must be the change we wish to see…the music should be a reflection of our own change. And as the music begins to express this positive alignment we make as artists within our personal lives…Let that music flow out to the world. Let the positivity infuse into the souls of others – with no strings attached. Share it openly, wholeheartedly…”Empty Handedly”…”
As I say goodbye to Nimo I can’t help asking this man with so much insight and wisdom one of our favorite PYE questions. If he had a microphone, what one thing would be tell the world? “Be kind. Be grateful,” he says.
Nimo’s tour schedule can be found here.
As an offering and a gift to the world Nimo is inviting people to download the entire album for free. Click here to find out how.
Nimo was speaking to Katie Jackson