American singer/actress Mary Millben extended Diwali greetings to Indians and the Indian American community in a very unique way Nov. 11.
Dressed in bright Indian attire, Millben shared a moving virtual performance of “Om Jai Jagdish Hare.”
“India, the people of India, and the Indian American community are very special to me. What a blessing to perform virtually for Diwali 2020 – an annual, Indian festival of lights where India, Indian Americans, and people from all over the world gather this year virtually to celebrate new harvest, gratefulness for prosperity, and celebrate light over darkness through the beauty of lamps.” said Millben.
The video was shot at the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, Arizona.
“As a daughter of retired ministers, my singing roots originated in the church and this upbringing shaped my faith. As a woman of faith, I value the diverse ways many worship across the world. ‘Om Jai Jagdish Hare,’ a beautiful Hindi hymn commonly sung during Diwali and in Indian households across the world, is a song of worship and celebration. This hymn continues to move me, touch my spirit, and stir my passion for Indian culture,” said Millben, adding that her mother Reverend Althea Millben was the first one to encourage her to consider recording and performing this song.
“During these times, we all need spiritual reinforcements that unify our souls,” she said.
With music by Canadian Screen Award and Grammy nominated composer Daryl Bennett, Millben released the spiritual and original arrangement of ‘Om Jai Jagdish Hare’ with a diverse creative team: Hollywood and Sony Pictures producer Tim Davis, award-winning engineer/mixer Jorge Vivo, executive directors John Schaus and Trent Massey of Arizona-based production company Ambient Skies, and BridalbyDeena owner Deena Mali.
Millben received acclaim in India following her moving performance of India’s National Anthem for the 74th Independence Day Aug. 15, 2020.
“My relationship with the Indian culture and love for India has grown through my learning and study of Hindi. Thanks to my beloved Hindi coach, Embassy of India First Cultural Diplomat and teacher of Indian culture Dr. Moxraj, I have been immersed into the culture, cinema, and music of India. These last several months learning ‘Om Jai Jagdish Hare,’ have been a true blessing to my life.” Millben said.
Millben was also the opening, featured virtual entertainment performing India’s National Anthem for the 2020 Nudge Foundation Forum (global edition), presented in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation and the Skoll Foundation.
In October, Millben was the featured entertainment for the 2020 Indiaspora Philanthropy Summit.
“Impact through philanthropic partnerships is a new personal priority. India’s migrant workers, the backbone of India, have faced tremendous challenges during Covid-19 and their struggle has consumed my attention. I look forward to partnering with my friend and Indiaspora founder M.R. Rangaswami and the Indiaspora network to help uplift those in need in the Indian diaspora, and give greater awareness here in America to the conditions of India’s migrant workers,” she said
As an independent artist, Millben has become one of the world’s new celebrated voices having performed for three consecutive U.S. Presidents – President George W. Bush, President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump – and world leaders.
Watch Millben’s performance here: