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WAR DIVIDES, MUSIC CONNECTS
Using music to bridge divides, connect communities,
and heal the wounds of war and conflict.
January 16, 2014 •• From Woman to Woman
End of year with music, dance, and hope for 2014

As we’re entering 2014, with the hope that music will accompany you all throughout the year, we’re looking back at a wonderful event that closed the year for our From Woman to Woman project.

On the 30th of December 2013, the women choir from Tuzla – “Brave Roses”, a choir set up as part of From Woman to Woman and directed by Almerisa Delic, has joined the women from Ježevac and Višća to celebrate the end of year together, with music and dance.

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This was a wonderful opportunity for the women who are part of the choir to get to know the women in the camps better and for the women in the camps to connect with their countrywomen. More than that, this visit gave them the chance to exchange views and stories about their experiences with music and ways of using music in their daily life, and for the women in the choir to bring music closer to those who live in the camps, to offer it to them as a tool that can help them in difficult times in their life. They also wanted to remind them, once more, that music can and should be a part of their life, even in moments of grief and sadness.

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After a short round of introductions, the women from the Tuzla choir went on to introducing themselves through music – they started by singing a few songs, very happy to be able to share their music and to be listened to after 3 months of hard work. They had been looking forward to this moment for a long time and their were finally ready to share the results with the women from Ježevac and Višća.

They choir continued singing, while the rest of the women actively participated in listening, humming and smiling, clapping hands and tapping their feet in the rhythm of the music, visibly touched by the experience.

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They then sang together sang a number of songs that the women from Ježevac and Višća had also learned during the previous music workshops that Almerisa and the music team had been facilitating in the camps.

Some of the women did not sing, but remained with the group, accompanying the singing with percussions, still enjoying the experience and giving into the power of music and beautiful smiles around, as they themselves expressed afterwards.

Other residents of the camp, peeking into the room, curious, and seeing what was happening, joined the group in singing and listening to music, even though they hadn’t taken part in the music activities prior to this event.

Gradually, while singing, the group started dancing traditional Bosnian dances, and everyone joined in, in a celebration of life, with its joys and difficulties, as Bosnian Sevdah songs portray so beautifully.

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As the event came to an end, several women from Ježevac and Višća said they are looking forward to their next meeting with the choir and expressed how keen they are on repeating this experience, so they can forget, even for a short while about the problems they face in their daily life, but also to do something positive, something that helps them deal with their emotions in a different way.

The members of the Tuzla choir were equally happy to have met women from the camps, to sing with and for them, and even offered to be their hosts in Tuzla.

And to prove, once more, the power and the attraction of music, as the Tuzla team was getting ready to leave, a man who lives in the camp and had observed from outside what was happening, approached them and asked them if he can join the team in their activities and help them by playing keyboard, even though, as he said, he’s not an educated musician and “he plays by ear”.

And this is how 2013 came to an end for a small part of those who live in the camps of Ježevac and Višća, with music from woman to woman, with new bonds created and with renewed hope for a better life.

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