Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Love Song for Kiva: The Dina with Kiva Project

A love song at its most simple, is a song about falling in love and the feelings that it brings. But love songs are always much more: they touch something inside people, making people pay attention and causing people to smile knowingly at loved ones. But what if that love song on your playlist wasn’t just a pop song? What if it was about your own personal love story? Dina Bach, singer and Kiva Volunteer Spanish Translator, has created a business doing just that: writing personal love songs for people’s weddings based on their stories. One of the songs she recently performed at a wedding will be featured on TLC’s “Four Weddings” show later this summer.

And that’s not all she does. Dina also works with other artists and performs live around the Chicago area. It is at her live shows that she has started another interesting project involving one of her loves, called “Dina with Kiva.”

Dina started the project this year because she wanted to take the next step in her love of microfinance. “Recently I started thinking of ways that I could bring more awareness to the world of microfinance and realized that I have an opportunity to educate a lot of people by talking about it at my shows!”

At every show Dina has a table displaying information on Kiva and microlending, her demo CD, and a big vase for donations. Dina explains, “I always ask for donations for my demo CD rather than charging for it. That way, some people put in money and some don't and everyone gets a copy.” The money donated then goes to loans on Kiva through her Kiva Lending Team, “Dina with Kiva.” During her shows, she talks about Kiva and the benefits of microlending, and passes out fliers for her lending team.

“The main goal is to raise at least $25 at each show to be able to make at least one loan. So far the amount raised/loaned has been more than expected and it's very exciting!”

Dina has four loves, as she explained recently: microfinance, music, teaching, and Spanish. She fell in love with playing the piano at the age of 10, when her mother says she “found” playing the piano. The family had an upright piano and “one day I just sat down and started playing.” She never took any lessons, just began playing and making up songs. She had other music training on the cello and in choirs, but by the end of high school, music was on the back burner. Then in college she started playing in local coffee shops and began to realize how much she wanted to pursue a music career. “People seemed to really like my music and I just kept writing and playing. I entered a holiday song contest for WGN Chicago and ended up as a finalist with my original Christmas song "What Christmas Means." I wrote the song just after I had gotten back from a microfinance trip to Guadalajara, Mexico, and I think that's what inspired the lyrics to the song. The chorus talked about how the true meaning of Christmas is helping someone in need.”

Her love of microfinance came about in college, where she heard about microfinance and felt compelled to study it further. And when Kiva Co-founder Jessica Jackley came to her university to talk about Kiva, Jessica’s story touched her heart.

“I'm by no means in the wealthy class and could never donate or lend large amounts of money to people in need,” Dina said. “Kiva enables people like me to make loans and help others realize their dreams of starting their own businesses.” It is also partially this passion that led her to join Kiva’s Review and Translation Team in 2010. It allows her to translate Spanish language loans in small bits and do her part to help Kiva and micro entrepreneurs.

“My professor once said, ‘Start small, and if what you're doing is important, the world will find a way to make it big.’ And that's exactly what happened with Kiva.”

Right now she is starting small, teaching people about Kiva through her shows, but she has even bigger dreams. “My next mission is to get more fans to join Kiva and join the lending team to start making their own contributions. My other hope for the future is to include Kiva Gift Cards with every custom wedding song purchase! That way the bride and groom can join Kiva and start loaning!”

When asked if she had written a song about Kiva yet, she responded, “I have not yet written a Kiva song! But I would love to!” She proceeded to list a bunch of interesting ideas for lyrics. Maybe if she adds a Spanish chorus, she can combine all four of her loves at once to create a personalized love song about her relationship with Kiva.

You can find out more about Dina with Kiva at her website.

If you are interested in having Dina Bach write you a personal love song, check out Sealed With a Song.

And last but not least, stay tuned for her this summer on TLC’s “Four Weddings.”