Local Family Finds Music, Heart in India and Nepal

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Julian and Milo Sposato, pictured at a recent community performance, hope to use their music to spread a message of global awareness.

So, if you’re an Emmy-nominated composer and multiplatinum writer/producer with accolades that bring you a house with a view in the Malibu hills and all the attendant perks, how do you raise children who are not self-involved, entitled and clueless to the rest of the less-privileged world?

If you’re Frankie Blue, you take your kids to India and Nepal, where they can not only perform for children in state orphanages whose early life might have included being sold into sexual slavery, they can sit and listen—really listen—to people whose culture doesn’t necessarily count Grammy awards as its Holy Grail.

Identical 13-year-old twins Milo and Julian—known by their performing personas as the Sposato Brothers—attend Malibu Middle School. India, 15, is in the International Baccalaureate program at Agoura High. Their work in the church choir and performing at clubs around the Southland didn’t really prepare them for this cultural immersion.

According to their father, it was an eye opener.

“Since my kids were babies, they’ve been involved with different charities,” Blue said. “We always do the Malibu Methodist Church Thanksgivings; they’ve played for benefits for the ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) Foundation. But I wanted them to have an experience of another culture by actually living there for awhile.”

Blue’s children were up for the trip. So, last December, Blue packed up the family and headed to the other side of the world.

“It was like going back in time,” Milo said. “They used wooden plows. And they had this caste system where no one is equal. They were really poor, but everybody accepted us into their family.”

The Sposato family started in southern India, living at a Montessori school in Hyderabad, and traveled through Delhi, Jaipur and Mumbai. The number of teenagers who were working to support their families, rather than going to school, particularly struck Julian.

“The kids our age were just like us, really,” Julian said. “But all the street kids wanted to go to school. One girl said the only thing she wanted for Christmas was a pencil and paper, so she could do her studies.”

The family performed benefit concerts throughout their journey, raising money for the music program at the Lumbini Montessori School in Hyderabad and for the Unatti Foundation in Nepal. The twins (big fans of Stevie Wonder and Led Zeppelin) have been writing music since two-year-old Milo wandered into one of his father’s sessions and started humming the melodies his father had just been working out on his keyboard.

Their overseas concerts were hits, despite the different musical heritage.

“Their own music is this real high-pitched sound,” Julian said. “I think some people were confused by us.”

“We played with a sitar player and took vocal lessons with this tabla player,” Milo said.

Their journey into ancient Eastern cultures was something they embraced with eyes wide open. In Mumbai, they dealt daily with young children in tattered clothing, begging in the street. They noted the profound dichotomy between the rich, flourishing districts situated five minutes away from the slums.

“It really made me appreciate running water and electricity and clean air,” Milo said. “The pollution is horrible there.”

The family spent three weeks trekking through Nepal and working at Maiti Nepal, the country’s largest orphanage. It was there they connected with children protected by the Unatti Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to providing shelter and education to underprivileged and orphaned Nepalese children.

They found the experience sobering.

“There were two girls who had been sold to someone in China,” India said. “When they were recovered, they couldn’t even speak their own language anymore. If girls in Nepal want to go anywhere, they have to walk in groups.”

The Sposato children returned to Malibu, determined to turn their global lessons into action. India wants to start a club at her school to raise money for the orphanages and provide education to girls. She wants to bring some of the Unatti children to Malibu for the summer.

The Sposato Brothers plan more local concerts to benefit the Unatti Foundation. They performed a song as a love letter to the Unatti children, titled, “Himalayan Falling Slowly,” which they use as a plea for donations.

Milo has hopes for the children he met on his journey.

“You want to see them make it,” he said. “I think we can help.”

The Sposato Brothers will be appearing at Witzend Live in Venice on May 8. More information may be found at sposatobrothers.com.