Nepali Times Asian Paints
Life Times
Musical high


When British guitarist Oz Bayldon (see box) came to Nepal in 2002 to participate in an international music festival, little did he know he would be breaking world records and helping build an orphanage in Nepal.

On 16 May, Music4children, the London-based charity founded by Bayldon performed on top of 6,476m high Mera peak for 40 minutes and broke the world record for the highest gig. This was the group's second record in seven years.

Bayldon says he became eager to work for Nepali children after his experiences with street children ten years ago.
"As I was walking around Kathmandu, I met a disabled child begging on the streets. I was buying him some food when I found myself surrounded by 30 street kids and I fed them all for less than 30 pounds. That's how Music4children was born," recalls the 40-year-old.

Bayldon also helps children from poor families in his hometown in south London by offering them free DJ, drama and dance lessons at his pub, The White Lion.

Music4children first entered the record books in 2005 after their performance at Kalapathar Base Camp at 5,545m. The record was surpassed by a German band in Bolivia, but Bayldon was determined to reclaim the title.

"The Germans stole our record and we are here to win it back," he said before his team of 10 volunteers including four musicians, two DJs, photographers and camera crew left for their two week expedition to Mera.

The money collected in 2005 was handed over to Help Network Nepal, a charity started by Nepalis living abroad, which used the funds to build an orphanage in Dhulikhel. Bayldon says the 35,000 pounds raised from this year's gig will help cover operating costs of the orphange for the next three years.

Dinesh Deokota of Adventure First Treks and Expeditions who has been involved with Music4children from the beginning is impressed with the team's commitment and dedication. He says, "Most climbers come to set individual records, usually on Mt Everest. Even though none of the volunteers are professional climbers, they travelled halfway across the world, took part in a difficult trek and performed in freezing cold just to support Nepali children." He is also pleased that events like these are publicising smaller, lesser known, but equally thrilling peaks like Mera.

Bayldon, however, is not satisfied with being a record holder. He now wants to raise funds for children around the world and looks forward to performing under more challenging conditions. "We have gigs lined up in the Amazonian rainforest, at the North Pole, and one in Mexico where we will be base jumping into a crater. We are just getting started," he says, grinning.

Watch clips of the gig

Jamming up

Imagine a 90-year-old man with asthma hiking up a 6,000 metre mountain. That's how most of us felt during our trek to Mera. We were so tired by the end that our minds went blank. But once we started jamming we remembered all the amazing people we met during our journey, we thought about our new Sherpa friends, and the children. It was this positive energy that kept us going at sub-zero temperatures.

When we found out we had raised enough money for the orphanage all of us were very ecstatic. It was even more exciting to visit the actual orphanage site in Dhulikhel and see the fruits of our hard work materialise in front of our eyes. Performing on top of a mountain is definitely a huge challenge, but we want to turn our gig into an annual event and continue doing good work for the children of Nepal.

Oz Bayldon

Read also:
Hat trick on the Everest marathon

1. AnnaManna
Wow! many thanks to Music4Children and Adventure First for organizing this in Nepal. Hopefully it gives a positive message about Nepal to the rest of the world despite the negative headlines that plague our country these days. Thank you Reeubena for the wonderfully written article.

2. Gopi
I hope they go and break their record again. Thank you Rubeena for the article.

3. renusakya
Reverence to Oz Bayldon and your gigging team! U teach us the value of extreme physical and Mental challenge.
& to MishraRabindra and your team- now it's your responsibility to teach the 'challenge accepting and challenge taking habit' to the Children.
The Orphans have lived very difficult life, the future ahead is equally difficult, present should be full of equally challenging lessons for them. Until the adolescent take challenge, they can never know, how far they can stretch.
Indeed, for three years Bayldon's charity will help, but if the children are 'groomed with Bayldon's attitude', after 3 years thre will be many Bayldon's in HELP NEPAL's Balbalika Kendra. Good Luck:)

4. Preeti Rai
Passion and commitment is an extraordinary thing and hope Help Nepal Network understand this commitment and passion of the 10 non-Nepalis who have worked so hard to start the orphanage in Dhulikhel. We will expect that HENN works with the same zeal in making the lives of children housed at the orphanage a happy experience. 

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)