OneBeat 2015 Overview

This October, the adventurous music-based diplomacy program OneBeat returns for its fourth year, convening innovative musicians from every region of the world to the U.S. for one exhilarating month of performances, discussions, interactive music-making events, and more. OneBeat grew out of a notion that musical collaboration is a uniquely powerful way to connect people across political and cultural barriers, which can in turn cultivate an international network of sonic changemakers who can make a powerful impact on their local and global communities.

Over the last three OneBeat programs, we have brought together 82 artists from 35 countries around the world, performed for over 14,000 fans, collaborated with students, organizers, and artists in schools and community groups in 17 cities across the US, and developed inventive models for engaging talented people around the globe in creative collaboration.

Tour Details

Our fellows will kick things off at the artist studios and villa mansion of Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, CA, where they will spend two weeks in an intensive residency learning about one another’s musical traditions, inventing new works in small and large groups, brainstorming with Bay Area educators, organizers, youth and artists, and designing creative workshops. At the end of the residency, Fellows will give world premieres of their original music at the Oakland Museum of California in Oakland, CA, and at Montalvo Arts Center, for an afternoon-long, all ages-friendly roving festival of performances and interactive music-making.

Following the residency, Fellows will embark on a two-week tour through Central Oregon, Portland, and Seattle, WA, where they will continue to develop new collaborative music, lead creative workshops with youth and community groups, stage unexpected public events in town squares and sidewalks, and engage in discussions of music, cross-cultural collaboration, social impact, and more with educators, students, artists, and political leaders. In Central Oregon, OneBeat will work with Caldera Arts, whose mission is to be a catalyst for the transformation of underserved youth through innovative art and environmental programs. Fellows will join in schools throughout the central Oregon valley, including schools on Native American reservations. OneBeat 2015 will culminate in an unprecedented collaboration with the City of Seattle, WA to present audiences with a dynamic series of public performances, artistic innovations and educational events. In partnership with the Seattle Arts Commission, Seattle Music Commission and with producing support by Compound, the week-long tour stop celebrates the city’s revolutionary music culture and OneBeat’s mission of global community and connectivity through music.

We invite people of all ages and backgrounds to join us for this month of rare musical pairings and critical discussions. Audiences will have the singular opportunity to experience live what it sounds like when a Senegalese traditional griot musician combines forces with a producer at the forefront of Lebanon’s electronic music scene. What is more, they will hear directly from the musicians themselves, learning first-hand about the process of cross-cultural dialogue and creative collaboration. Young people in schools across California and the Pacific Northwest will inspire and be inspired by our fellows, getting a chance to collaborate with an experimental theremin player from Kuala Lumpur, or with a circus performer, tap dancer and accordion player from Bogota. Through OneBeat, inventive musical storytellers become life-long ambassadors for their communities and cities, and their combined voices create original works and projects that will speak to audiences across the globe this fall and for many years to come. The possibilities are endless, as are the surprises and inspiration we will all encounter along the way.

Friday, Oct. 23, 5-9pm: Oakland Museum of California, (Friday Nights @ OMCA), Oakland, CA, FREE

OneBeat musicians will perform at the Oakland Museum of California’s Friday Nights @ OMCA – a popular free event that features an interactive street studio (5-7pm) and OneBeat’s first public performance (7-9pm), filling up OMCA’s unique museum grounds with new sounds from around the globe. OneBeat artists will have just spent two weeks getting to know each other at the Montalvo Arts Center in the South Bay, and will bring their collaboratively-created tunes and never-heard-before musical combinations to move the feet and minds of the people of Oakland. Presented by Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) and Found Sound Nation (FSN).

Sunday, Oct. 25, 2-6pm: OneBeat Festival at Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga, CA, FREE

This festival, the culmination of the two-week OneBeat residency at the Montalvo Arts Center, is free to the public, and will feature individual and group performances throughout the afternoon and all around our scenic grounds. There will also be food trucks, beer & wine, and a variety of interactive musical activities. Presented by Montalvo Arts Center and FSN.

Friday, Oct. 30, 7pm: Sisters High School Auditorium, Sister OR, $10/$5 youth, (Buy Tickets Here)

Based in Sisters Oregon, this OneBeat performance will explore how the essence of nature can be expressed and re-imagined musically, as the result of conversations between 25 musicians who range from a traditional Senegalese Griot to a Turkish electronic musician to a Brooklyn-based avant-guard bassist. These OneBeat musicians will have spent the previous days working with students and communities in Central Oregon to share their musicianship and collaboratively create new works. Come check out this one-of-a-kind musical reflection on what it means to be inventively human within the natural world. Presented by Sisters Folk Festival, Caldera, and FSN.

Sunday, Nov. 1, 8pm: Mississippi Studios, Portland, OR, $10 (Buy Tickets Here)

OneBeat’s Portland show will pay tribute to Halloween and the Day of the Dead, featuring musical reflections on the spooky and sublime, the world of spirit(s) that exists in the musical imagination and in OneBeat musicians’ diverse notions of the cosmos. These 25 innovative musicians will present completely original works (all collaboratively composed within the three weeks prior to this show) that reflect conversations on our common human spirit, the power of the natural world, and reflections on worlds unseeable in normal life. Presented by Soul’d Out Productions, Beloved, Engine Driver and FSN.


Wednesday, Nov. 4, 8pm: Columbia City Theater, Seattle, WA, $10 (Buy Tickets Here)

OneBeat South [Seattle]: OneBeat’s first public Seattle show launches in funky fashion with 25 musicians from 17 countries, and guest performances from Seattle’s Owuor Arunga (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Physics), Afro-Folk singer Naomi Wachira and hip-hop artist Draze, at the historic Columbia City Theater. A sonic celebration of our theme of place-making and how music can enrich a community, connect with the past and set a vision for the future of a neighborhood and city, this evening features a range of styles and original works, weaving an energetic musical portrait of the places (and instruments) our artists live and love, and also includes an outdoor public “street studio” (OneBeat’s signature mobile music producing studio), in the heart of South Seattle. Presented by Compound, Seattle Arts Commission, Seattle Music Commission, Umpqua Bank and FSN.

Thursday, Nov. 5, 7-8:30pm event w/reception to follow: Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, Seattle, WA, $10 suggested donation, (Buy Tickets Here)

OneBeat Impact: A one-of-a-kind music event spotlighting OneBeat artists’ diverse backgrounds in social activism and innovation, this evening is produced in collaboration with Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, UW World Series, and World Affairs Council, and focuses on cultural place-making through live performance, storytelling, and conversations about how music can make a positive social impact, and address issues from gender inequality to cross-cultural dialogue to environmental degradation. Part town-hall forum, part heartfelt show, this event will bring together organizers, musicians, community members and scholars as we take a soul-searching, uplifting look at how the arts can truly be of service in creating more peaceful communities and a more just world. Presented by Compound, Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, UW World Series, World Affairs Council, Umpqua Bank and FSN.

Friday, Nov. 6, 2:30pm: EMP Museum, Seattle, WA, Free and Open to the Public

OneBeat School of Music: An inspiring daytime music event capping off a week of OneBeat musicians’ residencies at Seattle Public Schools, this program brings together students from around the city to perform for each other, and the public, at EMP Museum’s iconic Sky Church. A product of OneBeat’s dynamic collaboration with the museum’s extensive educational network and programming, this performance invites OneBeat artists to share their musicianship and personal stories on-stage with a group of talented young Seattle musicians, including Big World Breaks percussion ensemble, Ingraham High School choir, Roosevelt High School choir and the Simba Youth Marimba Ensemble. Presented by EMP and FSN.

Friday, Nov. 6, 8pm-12am: Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA (SAM Remix), $25, $12 members (Buy Tickets Here)

OneBeat @ SAM Remix: A spotlight collaboration with the Seattle Art Museum and its signature nightlife series, Remix, OneBeat joins local Seattle artists to fill the museum with music and dance inspired by the stunning visual galleries and works that surround us. A unique event of music and art, OneBeat @ SAM Remix also includes a dynamic “Round Robin” improvisational performance with featured artists from the Jack Straw Cultural Center. Presented by the Seattle Art Museum and FSN.

Saturday, Nov. 7, 8pm: OneBeat and Abbey Arts present at St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle, WA, $10 suggested donation (Tickets Here)

Global Resonance: This acoustic performance is the closing event of OneBeat:Seattle and features OneBeat artists with Seattleite superstar trumpeterOwuor Arunga, Afro-Folk singer Naomi Wachira and other guest performers using the gorgeous resonant space of St. Mark’s Cathedral to perform freshly-minted songs and other original works that emerged from our month of collective music residency. The journey of 25 musicians from 17 countries is showcased this evening with a musical exploration on new aesthetic and political possibilities that celebrate our common humanity, reflect on the struggles behind us, and look forward to the long path ahead. Presented by Abbey Arts, Compound, Umpqua Bank and FSN.