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WAR DIVIDES, MUSIC CONNECTS
Using music to bridge divides, connect communities,
and heal the wounds of war and conflict.
June 20, 2017
Introducing WWMD Participants: Rob Fransen

We are happy to announce that World Wide Music Day is taking place this week, with events happening all over the world. Today we would like to introduce you to a musician residing in Musicians without Borders headquarters’ city – Amsterdam. Rob Fransen is joining us this week on June 21 with his community music event in Hendrik Jonkerplein square. It is situated in the ‘Westelijk Eilanden’  – “a secluded neighbourhood in Amsterdam where many artists reside”, says Rob. It’s a unique possibility to meet all the local musicians who will be performing in an open air event this Wednesday.

How did you find your way to music?

At the age of 12 I already showed interest in what I later learned was concrete music. I taped stack of saucers dropping down on a stone kitchen floor. Later I learned how to play bass and double bass and followed a course of sonology at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague.

How did you become involved in social activism?

In the eighties (past century) I joined a collective called ‘Het Witte Circus’ (The White Circus). Travelling with an old circus tent we brought music-theatre for children as well as grown ups. In our programming we left space for creative clubs of the neighbourhood and we set our tent up (e.g. music schools; ballet classes; local bands and artists etc.). We asked them to present themselves and to perform in our tent.

One time when we had set up our tent in ‘de Staatsliedenbuurt’ ([at] that time one of the most deprived neighborhoods of the Netherlands), the local squatters offered us space for storage and rehearsal – we gladly accepted the offer and we started a local theatre called: Zaal 100 Zaal 100 still exists today and carries out the same ideals as we had then.

What are the ways that a musician can make a difference today?

There are as many ways as there are musicians. Each musician has his or her own way to stir emotions. That’s of all times.

What are the main challenges for a musician social activist?

To get people together.

What motivates you to collaborate with Musicians without Borders?

The work and results of MwB I find very admirable.

If you wanted to inspire people through music, what song/composition would you play?

4’33” of John Cage. The ultimate experience to experience sound as music.

More information about the event and the full World Wide Music Day program is available here.

•• Topics World Wide Music Day