music diplomacy

A Syrian orchestra whose members have fled the country's civil war to different parts of the globe is reuniting in London for a rare concert which they say will show people another side of their country. The Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music, which includes musicians from different perspectives of Syria's war, will perform on June 25 with songwriter and producer Damon Albarn, frontman of the band Blur, and other guest performers.

Immigrants from all parts of the world squat in tent camps around the city until authorities demolish them. Some count among the wave of asylum seekers who have poured into Europe over the past year. [...] Band picks over a section of La Rosée du Matin, or Morning Dew, the title track of Ziga’s new album about refugees.

People start bands for all kinds of reasons, but most of those reasons fall under the general heading of “I have musical desire/skill/wherewithal and time to kill/a rehearsal space/likeminded friends.” Such reasoning generally does not include considering what music the world needs to hear, and tends to be focused squarely on more self-serving considerations.

A Congolese hip-hop artist exiled in a Malawian refugee camp is determined to fight xenophobia with his music.

A Palestinian pianist whose image playing the piano among the ruins of the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria captivated the world was awarded the 2016 International Beethoven Prize for Human Rights, Peace, Inclusion and the Fight Against Poverty last week.  Ayham Ahmad [...] became famous when a video of him singing and playing the piano surrounded by the rubble of the city went viral earlier in the year.

The track is meant to "ignite people's hearts with the soft power of music", according to the non-profit Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, which produced the CD. It's being released to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the UN. Appropriately, the musical diplomats have also recorded a cover of Rockin' All Over the World.

Riverdance and Lord of the Dance superstar Michael Flatley received a lifetime achievement award from Irish America magazine December 3 at the 30th annual Business 100 Awards Luncheon at the Metropolitan Club in Manhattan. Flatley, who is also a Golden Gloves-winning boxer and world-class flutist, received the award for his contributions to Irish dance, music, and cultural diplomacy.

President Park Geun-hye participated in diverse events aimed at promoting Korean culture and expanding cultural ties with France and the Czech Republic during her visit to the European countries last week. [...] At a Cabinet meeting in August, the President said: "We need to discover those neglected cultural values and reinterpret them in a modern way so we can recreate our culture."