Eva Holbrook of SHEL Talks New Single “Rainbow”, Music For Social Good and More (INTERVIEW)

SHEL is a band comprising four sisters: Sarah (bass, fiddle, vocals), Hannah (accordion, keys, vocals), Eva (lead vocals, guitar, banjo, cello, mandolin), and Liza Holbrook (percussion). The band is currently promoting a video for its single “Rainbow”. The video depicts women in India who have been exiled simply because they are widows who are outcast because they are seen as bad omens. By email, Eva Holbrook discussed the inspiration, importance, and desired impact of the single and corresponding video.

What inspired “Rainbow”?

I actually had a vision of women in India when I was writing it, which was very strange to me, but I went with it. A few months later I ended up at the premiere for the documentary Beyond Karma and I knew right away that the song was written for the women of Hope Springz. 

Why was the story of the Indian widows an important one to tell?

They need love and connection just like anyone else. They need protection, a sense of belonging and purpose. Through no fault of their own they’ve been cast out of society and abandoned by their families. I would want someone to speak up for me if that was my situation. To tell my story and stand by me. 

What is the greatest lesson you took from your visit to Hope Springz?

No matter what your situation is, you can choose to love and extend a hand to the people around you, and that choice is a choice to bring healing and purpose to your life.

What would be the best imaginable impact of the song and video?

That people would understand the stigma of widowhood in India and stand by the women who have been cast out because of it. That it would inspire inventive ways of reaching out to them and showing them love. 

If someone wants to get involved with Hope Springz, what’s the best way to go about it?

In many rural societies in India, people believe that the loss of a woman’s husband is a result of her bad karma. There’s a ceremony after his death that involves dressing her in white (the color of death), smashing the bangles around her wrist, and turning her out of society to beg on the streets. Often her own children abandon her.

Our vision is to provide support for widows with the help of Hope Springz, a craft center in the heart of Vrindavan, India. This one room apartment empowers over 30 women, providing them with community, purpose, and loving support through skill development programs, including jewelry making.

We commissioned Rainbow bracelets from Hope Springz as a symbol of restored dignity and color in the lives of the women who make them. Visit White Rainbow Project. They have opportunities to volunteer and work with widows in North and South India, including the women of Hope Springz in Vrindavan. Also, you can go to shelmusic.com and join the story of hope being told through this song by purchasing a rainbow bracelet directly from Hope Springz.

Photo credit: Taylor Ballantyne

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