With their upcoming release, Share The Well, folk-rock group Caedmon’s Call has taken a more global approach to the message of salvation, attempting to bring awareness to the discrimination inherent in the caste system of India. The title, Share The Well, refers to the oppression of the Dalits (“unborn”), the lowest class in the caste system of India, who are not even allowed to drink from public wells unless an upper-caste member draws the water for them. The group was able to witness the situation first hand during a trip to India this spring.
“Gandhi supposedly eliminated caste discrimination, but he didn't eliminate the system. The problem is that discrimination is inherent in the caste system that is taught by Hinduism,” says lead singer Cliff Young, “The upper caste children in northern India wear school uniforms, but the Dalit children go to school wearing rags and dirty clothes. They have to go sit at the feet of the upper caste students—they aren't allowed to sit at desks. The Dalits even drink out of their own clay cups that they have to break when they're done, in case an upper caste might accidentally drink from it.”
The group, who have worked with organizations like Compassion International and India’s Peace Gospel Ministries for almost a decade, hold a firm conviction that providing world relief is part of being a Christian.
“The truth is, as believers, we’ve been called to help these people. In America, we live by a self-centered version of Christianity. We forget the Great Commission. We think we aren’t called to help people because our gifts and talents lie elsewhere. Instead, we should be asking how we can use the gifts we’ve been given to go to all the world and live out the message of the Gospel.
In response to the situation, Caedmon’s Call recorded Share The Well, out October 12th, a world-music influenced record on which the band invited over seventy local Dalit musicians to perform. Through the record, the group hopes to awaken fans to the Great Comission and give them a passion for world missions, as explained by Young:
“It's one thing to stand up on stage and tell people about the oppression and poverty, and another to get people to experience it. So the idea is to take people on a journey and get them to fall in love with Third World music and culture. It's sort of the same way we got into it—first the music, followed by the desire to experience the people and the culture, and then the issues came to our attention.
I'd love for awareness and money to be raised, but more importantly, I hope it inspires thousands of people to go on mission trips to these countries and serve. Revival starts out of desperation, and we're either not desperate enough, or we don't realize that we're desperate. India is so secular, but it's so close to being changed around through the gospel. We just hope we can somehow be near when God makes that change.”
Holding to the idea of spreading the culture of the oppressed, Caedmon's Call has invited several musicians from India, Brazil, and Ecuador (the band also visited Brazil and Ecuador in the Spring to perform with them on tour, which will begin October 8th in Peachtree City, Georgia. The first single, There’s Only One (Holy One), hits radio mid-August.