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Sting stung by imbalance between rich and poor

IANS [Friday, February 04, 2005]

Rock superstar Sting said Thursday he would not be a satisfied man till there is a fairer sharing of goods, resources and happiness between rich and poor nations.

Addressing a crowded news conference on his first visit to this hi-tech city for his concert tour of India, Sting said the current debate was really about the imbalance between rich and poor nations or between the haves and have-nots.

"I'm a wealthy person. I live in a wealthy country. But I cannot be satisfied in my life unless there is a fairer share of goods, resources and happiness," said Sting, known for his association with environmental and human rights issues.

"Though I do not know how to go about it, I am certainly concerned about the issue, which is going to dominate this century."

Fielding a volley of questions on issues ranging from music, religion and his family to live concerts and his lyrics, Sting said he would like to be a European and live in England rather than move to the US, where he has a house too.

"My concern is quality of life and bringing up my children in an environment that is free, democratic and liberal. I prefer the English school system to the American system because primary education is better in England.

"Of course, I did send some of my children to the US for higher education, which is good there," Sting recalled.

Sting has six children, three boys and three girls. The eldest is 28 years and the youngest eight. Their taste in music is very varied and sometimes, they "educate" him about a particular form of music.

"I am very open with my children. We discuss lot of things - music, arts, politics, and about life itself. The eldest is a musician in his own merit," Sting said.

Expressing his fond wish of coming back to India, Sting said the country's rich culture, history, architecture and music had fascinated him over the years.

"Since my first visit to India in 1980, I have been here many times and have been a student of yoga for 15 years. I enjoy Indian people. They are very engaging. It's all fun to be here.

"In fact, I spent the last New Year with my children in the deserts of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. It was incredible. My children really appreciate India."

Admitting his knowledge of Indian music was limited, Sting said: "I do love Indian music. It has a long history. On my last record, I used Pandit Ravi Shankar's daughter Anoushka on one of the tracks. She played the sitar."

Asked whether he would collaborate with other subcontinental artists, Sting said he would love to if there were synergy and fusion.

Incidentally, when Sting asked the hotel where he is staying to play some Indian music instead of western music while dining in one of its restaurants, he was told they did not have any Indian music.

"I was surprised when they said they didn't have any. I wanted to listen to some Indian music, classical or characteristic," Sting quipped.

Commenting on his autobiography "Broken Music", which was released last year, Sting said it was a personal and candid story about him, his childhood, and becoming a man.

"It is about a boy becoming man. About my parents, and their tragic love story. On the town I come from. Why I sing the way I do. How I became a musician. It's much more about a real person than about an icon," Sting reminisced.

Explaining his quest for perfection and the influence of religion on his music over the years, Sting said he regarded religion and music as being linked very closely.

Akshays Olympic association

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