When our students signed up for the Mitrovica Rock School’s 2014 Winter School, they may have taken the name lightly. Little did they know that, weeks later, they would be standing in t-shirts in a close-to-freezing car park for a 5-hour video shoot.
While many associate the rock-and-roll scene with glamor and decadence, Mitrovica musicians know that any musician’s success, especially in this region, is hard earned and involves little glitter, in any case off-stage. Many of the trainers we’ve welcomed from the Fontys Rockacademie (Netherlands) and other notable European music institutions have called the experience inspiring or even life-changing, because they had never before worked with a group of young people who were driven to create so much with so little.
And that’s exactly what the Mitrovica Rock School does. Using whatever space, instruments and materials we could find, we have built a school, trained teachers and served hundreds of young musicians. And using a camcorder and a freezing cold garage, we make an amazing music video (currently in production, to be posted here soon). We can do this because, while Mitrovica may lack most other resources, there is no shortage of raw talent and motivation.
The 2014 Winter School brought together mixed bands Schism and Astral Dreamers, whose members cannot safely meet in Mitrovica. Besides recording a video, the bands wrote new songs, made studio recordings, worked on acoustic arrangements and gave two concerts, all in Skopje, Macedonia.
Their trainers were Sjoerd de Buck of the Fontys Rockacademie plus three members of mixed band The Artchitects, who now work as teachers at the Rock School. Schism and Astral Dreamers will perform in Berlin, Germany, in May 2015.