In Europe’s most divided city, Mitrovica (Kosovo), Serb and Albanian youth have grown up without contact with the other side. Since 2008, the Mitrovica Rock School has connected some 1,200 youth through music. The project “Music Connects” brings together youth from five of the region’s most divided and disenfranchised communities.
At the Mitrovica Rock School, youth from both sides of ethnically divided Mitrovica meet as young musicians and songwriters. The Rock School provides daily lessons and band coaching sessions and connects youth through weekly inter-ethnic workshops and its program for ethnically mixed bands. Our annual summer school brings together mixed bands for an intensive week of songwriting, rehearsing, recording and performing.
Music Connects is a new project supported by Creative Twinning, a program of Netherlands Enterprise Agency, and other donors. In partnership with Fontys Rockacademie, Mitrovica Rock School, Roma Rock School and Music School Enterprise, the project activates youth and builds sustainable alternatives for social inclusion through state-of-the art rock music education, production and promotion.
Music Connects will deliver thousands of music activities to Serb, Albanian, Macedonian, Roma and other youth. We will establish a recording studio in Mitrovica and train sound engineers in Mitrovica and Skopje, increasing cultural participation and cooperation and lowering the barrier for young bands to enter the region’s emerging music scene.
Video production house HATCHED-MV will produce the feature documentary “Music Connects: The Real School of Rock,” as an audiovisual testimony to the power of music to connect people across divides. During the 2.5-year Music Connects project, HATCHED-MV will film crucial events in the project’s development, and release eight social media clips and a trailer. The feature documentary is due in the spring of 2020.
Proximity Mine’s new music video, recorded in Vienna and directed, filmed and produced for the Mitrovica Rock School by Hatched-MV: hatched-mv.com
Mitrovica Rock School kicked off its anniversary year with our tenth annual summer school.
Music video ‘Fantasy’ by ethnically mixed band Rootless, a high-energy dream team formed by highly talented, long-term students of our Mitrovica Rock School.
Neverland, a mixed Mitrovica Rock School band, recorded in May 2017 at the Mitrovica Rock School.
Mixed band Proximity Mine are from Mitrovica (Kosovo), a city completely divided by war. They are setting an example to their generation, and they need your help.
Proximity Mine, a mixed band formed by students of the Mitrovica Rock School, recorded January 2017 at the Mitrovica Rock School.
Acoustic version of Battery by mixed Mitrovica Rock School band Sublime 6. Sublime 6 was formed in 2013 under the Rock School’s Ambassador Band Program.
Acoustic version of Fire by mixed Mitrovica Rock School band Akasha
The 2016 Summer School for ethnically mixed bands organized by the Mitrovica Rock School, August 21 to 28, 2016.
Live recording of Proximity Mine, an ethnically mixed band formed in August 2016 by students of the Mitrovica Rock School.
Live recording of High Frequency, an ethnically mixed band formed in August 2016 by students of the Mitrovica Rock School.
The 2015 Remix Band Camp of the Mitrovica Rock School, where students from the Rock School’s north and south branches worked in ethnically mixed bands and wrote, recorded and performed their own songs.
Music video of ethnically mixed Mitrovica Rock School band The Suck of Psychotic
Music video of ethnically mixed Mitrovica Rock School band Astral Dreamers
At the 2014 Ambassador Band Camp, four ethnically mixed bands from the divided city of Mitrovica, Kosovo, came together in neighboring Macedonia to write, record and perform their own songs.
Rock School co-founder Wendy Hassler-Forest of Musicians without Borders speaks at TEDx Tirana about what it has meant to set up an inter-ethnic rock music school in a town as rigidly divided as Mitrovica.
The Rock School’s first Ambassador Band, the Artchitects, was formed in 2011. After a one-year break in 2012-2013, they got together again in August 2013 with a brand new sound. Let It Go was the first song written after the band regrouped.
Sublime 6 was formed in August 2013 and immediately faced a set-back when two of its members left the band. The band got back together in November 2013, with a new drummer and now only five members, and continues to this day writing and performing under the name Sublime 6.
From August 25 to September 1, four Ambassador Bands of the Mitrovica Rock School rehearsed, recorded and performed in Skopje, Macedonia. Schism, Sublime 6, the Toe May Toes and the Artchitects came together to finish songs they wrote in Mitrovica.
Every year since 2008, the Mitrovica Rock School has brought young musicians from north and south Mitrovica together at the annual Skopje Summer School. At the Summer School, students work in mixed bands towards a big concert in the Skopje City Park.
Applying Musicians without Borders’ MEL practices, the partners in Music Connects keep detailed quantitative records of their activities, conducts regular participant evaluations, and are introducing the Most Significant Change methodology. We will share details in 2018 regarding our collaboration with academic partners on an external project review.