OneBeat 2013 brought together musicians from 16 countries and 6 continents, and a mind-boggling diversity of genres: Arabic hip hop, Cambodian classical music, Kenyan indie-rock, Chinese punk, to name a few. Our philosophy is based on the notion that, by collaborating across divides of culture, nationality, and musical traditions, we can access unexplored elements of each other’s potential.
More than a series of music concerts and performances, OneBeat balances three principles: dialogue, creation, and social engagement:
Dialogue: A chance to discuss with one another what music means in the context of our society, culture, and politics. We ask: How do we invite our communities to participate in the transformative power of music? How do we create art that invigorates/enriches a community? How can music function — in some small way — to heal wounds created by conflict, stress, poverty and lay the groundwork for healthier systems?
Creation: Collaborating to compose innovative music that respects the integrity of each of our traditions, as we strive to establish a more authentic and powerful “world music.” We have found that the act of collaborative creation — facing down a blank page together — results in an extraordinarily powerful bonding experience.
Social engagement: Designing and leading workshops and events with groups of youth and communities. We believe in the unique potential of creating something from scratch, finding unique sounds in each environment, listening to the voices and musical traditions of one another — regardless of age, musical genre, or skill level — and inventing something new using these materials.
The OneBeat 2013 program began on September 9 in Florida, traveling up the East Coast and ending in New York City on October 5th, 2013. In each city, OneBeat fellows presented their creative work and told their stories in venues ranging from rock clubs to planetariums to performing arts centers. Throughout the program, OneBeat fellows worked directly with local youth and community groups, engaging people in this same cross-cultural creative process. But OneBeat is much more than this month itself. It is a global conversation we encourage all to participate in.