After years of placing obstacles in the path of incoming entertainers, the State Department is offering a sprig of mistletoe to the world’s musicians.
Partnering with New York’s Bang on a Can group, the Dept has launched a OneBeat, one-month exchange programme for young musicians, slipped under the wire in the guise of ‘smart diplomacy’. It’s a small gesture, no more than that, but it might be the harbinger of a change in attitude. At least there is an awareness on Hillary Clinton’s part that the US needs to repair its relations with the world’s musicians. Release follows.
For Immediate Release December 9, 2011
Bringing the World’s Music to Main Street America,
U.S. Department of State Announces “OneBeat”
Bringing musicians from around the world to communities across America, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced OneBeat today, an initiative that will bring up to 50 international musicians between the ages of 19-35 to the United States for a month-long exchange. OneBeat musicians will connect with Americans musicians and audiences, especially underserved youth, through people-to-people diplomacy and social engagement projects. It is slated to kick-off in the United States in September of 2012.
OneBeat builds on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision of “smart power” diplomacy. It embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools, including music, to bring people, especially youth, together for greater understanding.
Partnering with Bang on a Can’s Found Sound Nation, the OneBeat musicians will perform in collaborative ensembles that improvise across genres, reinvent traditional tunes, compose original work, record in the state-of-the-art OneBeat mobile studio, and prepare for performances and educational workshops. The groups will then tour in the United States. During the tour, they will perform the music they developed during the exchange, work with local musicians, and conduct social outreach workshops with local youth.
Bang on a Can’s Found Sound Nation is an eclectic group of artists who have a strong sense of social engagement. Working with people across the globe, from schools to prisons, from young to old, and partnering with local youth, social organizations, music festivals, and artists across all disciplines, Found Sound Nation creates a space that transcends geographic, linguistic, and political borders. The work of Found Sound Nation uses the expressive power of music and audio production to give voice to underserved communities, unlock the creative potential of youth, and build bridges between communities separated by cultures, economic disparities, and geography.
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs promotes mutual understanding between the United States and other countries through a wide range of academic, cultural, private sector, professional, and sports exchange programs. The Bureau’s s cultural exchanges support U.S. foreign policy, foster America’s artistic excellence, and demonstrate America’s respect and appreciation for other cultures and traditions. For more information, visit www.exchanges.state.gov.
Media contact: Talley Sergent, U.S. Department of State, SergentRT@state.gov.
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