25 young musicians from 8 countries came to Tbilisi, Georgia from April 1-9 for ‘Music as a Common Language for Peace’, initiated by the European Student Association AEGEE. Musicians without Borders team of Laura Hassler and Lis Murphy led training sessions to prepare the musicians for performances and music workshops in IDP camps (Internally Displaced People) where thousands of people now live as a result of the most recent wars in the region.
The musicians, from Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic and Hungary, spent the week learning each other’s music and making new friends. They created beautiful, diverse music performances including classical, traditional, rock, jazz incorporating traditional instruments such as duduk and qanoon. Together with Lis, they helped to reduce stress for hundreds of children in the camps through singing, dancing and body percussion.
Back in Tbilisi, the group co-ordinated a flash-mob to surprised passers-by at a local metro station, with a unique rendition of Moby with lyrics in 10 different languages, spreading a message of peace.
Here is what one of the participants, Ana Martínez, wrote about the experience:
“Yesterday finished the best experience I´ve ever had. I´m going to try start writing some words of appreciation for the people who have made these 10 days something incredible. When I arrived I didn´t know what I was going to find, I had never met anybody from the participants countries. I didn´t know the nature they had, their customs, what they thought about Spanish people… I had many doubts on my mind. Little by little, day by day, moment by moment we were becoming a big family. I love your music, dances, instruments, skills and culture. I love Georgia in general and Tbilisi in particular. I have discovered that is very very exciting to see how discussion, coexistence and music can make everything perfect. I talked to some people only with gestures, hugs, smiles or looks, because you couldn´t speak the same language, I also saw how the children had a good time with our music… This is really incredible and it´s why it shouldn´t disappear. I love Hungarian team, I love Czech team, I love Russian team, I love Azerbaijan team, I love Georgian team, I love Armenian team and I love my mates of Spanish team, all of you are unique. I would like have expressed myself better and understand you better also, It was the hardest thing for me these days. Thank you for your help and patience. I´ll miss all of you very much and whether we meet again or not, I will always remember you. The last message is for leaders and Jony; Thank you for making it possible and letting me have this experience. Please, continue with this project. Finally I say that all and each one of you (participants and leaders) are invited to visit Spain with me.”
A great start of a new partnership in the Caucasus, connecting young people through music for peace-building.