Music and Political Activism

His journey in becoming a musician was not easy, Zeshan Bagewadi (Bienen ’09, ’11) started out as an Uber driver, an auto mechanic and a drill press operator before rising to a musician. He later released ‘Vetted’ which was his first album and a sum of his experiences and influences. Zeshan grew up in a music-loving household, and he was thus exposed to different genres inclusive of Indo-Pakistani music to soul tunes. As an undergraduate, he studied opera and voice at Northwestern. One of Bawegadi`s album features his experiences as a Muslim and Indian American. He observed the happening of the Black Lives Matter Movement and the death of Sandra Bland, his friend from high school. He decided to use his music as a strategy of speaking out on important matters.

Bienen Prof. Sunny Joy Langton who taught Bagewadi as a master’s students said that his move to use music as a tool of political activism was not surprising because he was always enthusiastic for life which set him apart as an artist. Bagewadi hopes to elicit empathy from his listeners and look beyond their own lives and feel the pain of other people. He said that people are caught up in their own lives and have failed to think about others.


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