OneBeat brings together emerging musical leaders from around the world to collaboratively create original work and to develop a global network of civically engaged music initiatives.
Now in its sixth year, OneBeat is cultivating a pioneering international network of leading artistic, technological, and social innovators in music. An initiative of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in collaboration with the groundbreaking New York-based music organization Bang on a Can’s Found Sound Nation, OneBeat employs collaborative original music as a potent new form of cultural diplomacy.
OneBeat brings musicians (ages 19-35) from around the world to the U.S. for one month each fall to collaboratively write, produce, and perform original music, and develop strategies for arts-based social engagement. OneBeat begins with an opening residency, when Fellows collaborate to create original material, record new musical ideas, and incubate their projects. OneBeat fellows then go on tour, performing for a wide array of American audiences, collaborating with local musicians, and leading workshops with youth. In a closing residency, each OneBeat musician sets out their plans for the future, developing projects in their home countries linked to a mutually-reinforcing network of music-driven social enterprises.
OneBeat is a musical journey like no other. It is a chance for adventurous musicians from an incredible diversity of traditions to seek common ground, create new musical combinations, push the boundaries of music technology, and find ways to involve all members of society in the process of musical creativity. OneBeat endeavors to be the nexus of a new way of thinking about how music can help us collectively build healthy communities, prosperous societies, and a more peaceful world.
Opening Residency: OneBeat begins with a two-week musical residency where Fellows will collaborate to invent new musical works, record and produce tracks in custom-built mobile studios, design public engagement workshops, and meet with social entrepreneurs. The Residency is a time for Fellows to listen to one another’s musical voices and to weave together their interests, histories, and skills into unique, original works. Past residencies have taken place at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida and Montalvo Arts Center in the Bay Area.
Tour: After the residency, OneBeat hits the road for a two-week tour featuring performances, youth workshops, and public music-making events. Past events have included an art installation and music festival in an abandoned train factory, university panel discussions and workshops, interactive street studios, pop up performances in discount retailers and much more.
One Beat, Three Approaches: We encourage OneBeat Fellows to work together, across borders of musical traditions and backgrounds, in three complementary approaches that we call Analog, Digital, and Social. Analog refers to creating music the ‘old fashioned’ way, getting together to explore new music with instruments and voices. In the Digital approach, OneBeat fellows make use of the latest digital technology, and work with music and video software programs. Using the Social approach, OneBeat fellows develop music-driven social enterprises, ranging from youth hip-hop education centers to music therapy practices to socially-engaged record labels.
The OneBeat Philosophy: OneBeat is designed with the belief that the creation of high-quality original music is an ideal vehicle for crossing cultural and political divides. This creative process exemplifies how people from dramatically different musical backgrounds, with diverse training, conceptions of music, and aesthetics, can negotiate differences and find an interplay of cultures that maintains the integrity of each tradition. At OneBeat we encourage musicians to listen deeply to each others’ musical voices, and to create work that values the complexity and idiosyncrasies of each tradition, creating risky, wholly unique musical works. This type of egalitarian, cross-cultural interaction continues in our discussions of social issues, as we find ways to use music to catalyze positive change in our communities and internationally.