OneBeat 2016 Overview

This September, OneBeat, the world’s foremost residency celebrating music as social practice, returns for its fifth 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 change-makers who make a powerful impact on their local and global communities.

This year OneBeat focuses on Musical Migrations, exploring how large movements of people have shaped music, and conversely, how music can encourage dialogue, community resilience, and rootedness in situations of displacement and upheaval. 

OneBeat 2016’s tour traces the route of the Great Migration, honoring the global impact of African-American music by connecting with musical communities in the birthplace of Jazz (New Orleans), the home of Bessie Smith (Chattanooga), and a sweet home for blues, electronic music, and hip hop (Chicago). In each of these sites, OneBeat fellows will perform and record their brand-new works, produce videos, and lead generative workshops in collaboration with local community organizations. 

OneBeat is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, produced by Bang on a Can’s Found Sound Nation.

Tour Details

OneBeat returns to the Atlantic Center for the Arts (ACA) in New Smyrna Beach, FL for a two-week intensive residency from September 10-25. The residency will be followed by a two-week, four-state tour to New Orleans (Sept 26 – Oct 1), Chattanooga (Oct 2 – 5), and Chicago (Oct 6 – 11). In each of these sites, OneBeat fellows will present audiences with a dynamic series of public performances, “street studios,” and educational events in collaboration with local musicians, educators, and community organizations. These connections and collaborations during the program will be the launching pad for fellows’ own music-driven initiatives, as they develop project ideas for their communities that leverage the power of music for social good.

In New Orleans, and in partnership with Ace Hotel, OneBeat fellows will collaborate to create original music with youth fromSilence is Violence, and Make Music NOLA, and will perform at the opening of the brand-new Music Box village, a venue of invented instruments built into musical architecture by multi-disciplinary art collective New Orleans Airlift and dozens of artistic collaborators. Fellows will perform original works led by New Orleans swamp-pop legend Quintron, and other musicians, including OneBeat alumna Aurora Nealand.

In Chattanooga, TN, as part of Startup Week Chattanooga, OneBeat musicians and Miami-based Fellows of the New World Symphony will use low-latency software to perform together in the Chattanooga Public Library, while over 700 miles apart. OneBeat will also work with the The Bridge Refugee Service, Coming to America, and Mad Priest Coffee Roasters to explore ways that music and culture can play a role in addressing refugee crises around the globe and easing the process of resettlement.

The tour culminates with performances in partnership with cultural organizations and artists across a diversity of communities in Chicago, including the Rebuild Foundation, Inner-City Muslim Action Network, Steve Coleman and the Five Elements, members of Eighth Blackbird, Constellation, and the Old Town School of Folk Music.

All along the tour, people of all ages and backgrounds will have the rare opportunity to experience live what it sounds like when adventurous musicians from different parts of the world combine forces, and learn first-hand about the process of cross-cultural dialogue and creative collaboration. All OneBeat events will draw inspiration from stories of Musical Migrations, including the voices of migrant and refugee groups in each community, both currently and historically.