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O sing,
sing aloud
so True Being may follow the Word.

Musicians without Borders sing aloud the song of peace. I applaud their work and ask you to support them however you can.
Thích Nhất Hạnh
Speaker, writer and spiritual teacher, Vietnam / France
Thích Nhất Hạnh
Speaker, writer and spiritual teacher, Vietnam / France
O sing,
sing aloud
so True Being may follow the Word.

Musicians without Borders sing aloud the song of peace. I applaud their work and ask you to support them however you can.

Nonviolent resistance
A prominent leader of the nonviolent resistance to the war in Vietnam, Thich Nhat Hanh was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King in 1967.

Speaker, writer and teacher
He was head of the Vietnamese Buddhist Peace Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks from 1969- 1973. A world-renowned speaker, writer and spiritual teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh continues his advocacy of justice, nonviolence and reconciliation.

O sing,
sing aloud
so True Being may follow the Word.
(Experience, Nhat Hanh, 1964)

It is said that music is nothing but entertainment to the ear. In a world that is shaped by conflict and torn by war, hope and healing are more important than ever. Musicians without Borders’ continuous efforts to bring healing to those places where it is needed most, shows the incredible power and potential of music: how it can help overcome traumas, how it can unite people, how it can bring hope in the darkest of situations. Rather than jumping the bandwagon, Musicians without Borders stays put and invests in long-term solutions to long-running conflicts; bridging divides and connecting communities in a way that is both sustainable and effective. They truly are a beacon of light and I can only hope that people all over the world will get inspired to follow their example. I fully support Musicians without Borders in their work and I ask everyone to do the same.
Gil Semedo
Singer-songwriter, Cape Verde / The Netherlands
Gil Semedo
Singer-songwriter, Cape Verde / The Netherlands
It is said that music is nothing but entertainment to the ear. In a world that is shaped by conflict and torn by war, hope and healing are more important than ever. Musicians without Borders’ continuous efforts to bring healing to those places where it is needed most, shows the incredible power and potential of music: how it can help overcome traumas, how it can unite people, how it can bring hope in the darkest of situations. Rather than jumping the bandwagon, Musicians without Borders stays put and invests in long-term solutions to long-running conflicts; bridging divides and connecting communities in a way that is both sustainable and effective. They truly are a beacon of light and I can only hope that people all over the world will get inspired to follow their example. I fully support Musicians without Borders in their work and I ask everyone to do the same.

Gil Semedo is one of Africa’s biggest stars. It is therefore surprising that outside of his home continent barely anyone has heard of him. For almost 25 years the singer of Cape Verdean descent has dominated the African hit charts, selling over a million records and even creating his own music genre. Angola, a country ravaged by civil war for over three decades, found comfort with Gil’s music. In fact, many Angolans feel that it was Gil’s music that helped them cope. Similarly, Gil’s music brought relief to the people of Mozambique during their civil war and its aftermath. It even earned him the nickname ‘Nos Lider’, Portuguese for ‘Our Leader’. As of late, the artist is also breaking ground in Brazil.

Gil was born in Cape Verde and moved with his family to Rotterdam, the Netherlands, at age 6. Gil’s talent for music was obvious from an early age and in Rotterdam he was exposed to a huge variety of musical and cultural influences. Soon Gil became the epitome of Afro-Caribbean music; the embodiment of the West-African cultural and musical identity, uniting people from Cape Verde, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, Brazil and the African diaspora.

Where Salsa was the universal language for Spanish speaking countries in the 1970’s, Zouk became the counterpart for Portuguese speaking countries in the 1990’s; both on the African and Latin-American continent. Just like Salsa, it would not take long for Zouk to develop its own regional characteristics. Combining elements of Zouk with musical influences from a metropolis like Rotterdam, Gil would bring Zouk to new heights. Eventually this lead him to create his own music genre “Caboswing”: an amalgamation of Cape Verdean music and rhythms such as Coladeira, Funana and Batuco mixed with Pop, R&B and Zouk, the genre is best defined as a quest for roots and belonging. In his music Gil often sings about the vicissitudes of migration. As today virtually everyone in Cape Verde has family abroad, it is this search for identity in particular that continues to be a source of inspiration for several generations of Cape Verdeans and (West-)Africans across the world.

In 2014 Gil became the first ambassador of the national Cape Verdean Paralympic Committee. He is currently in the process of starting his own foundation to bring medical equipment to disabled children in Cape Verde and in 2015 he announced plans to bring school supplies to African colleges.

There is nothing that imbues the human soul with a greater sense of belonging than to be given the opportunity to express love. I have been graciously granted this honour by Musicians without Borders through their initiative of welcoming me into the arena of their most wonderful work. Their use of music to link individuals and communities with themselves, each other and the higher purpose of life’s attainment of peace, is commendable beyond measure. My gratitude is surpassed only by the undiminished love I feel towards you, my beautiful sisters and brothers.
Eugene Skeef
Percussionist, composer, poet, educationalist and animateur, South Africa / UK
Eugene Skeef
Percussionist, composer, poet, educationalist and animateur, South Africa / UK
There is nothing that imbues the human soul with a greater sense of belonging than to be given the opportunity to express love. I have been graciously granted this honour by Musicians without Borders through their initiative of welcoming me into the arena of their most wonderful work. Their use of music to link individuals and communities with themselves, each other and the higher purpose of life’s attainment of peace, is commendable beyond measure. My gratitude is surpassed only by the undiminished love I feel towards you, my beautiful sisters and brothers.

Eugene Skeef is a South African percussionist, composer, poet, educationalist and animateur and has lived in London since 1980. He also works in conflict resolution, acts as a consultant on cultural development, teaches creative leadership and is a broadcaster. In 2003 he founded Umoya Creations, a charity set up to facilitate this international work. As a young activist he co-led a nation-wide literacy campaign teaching in schools, colleges and communities across apartheid South Africa. As well as being at the forefront of the contemporary music scene collaborating with innovative artists, he has also been instrumental in developing the education programmes of some of the major classical orchestras in the United Kingdom. Eugene is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and has served on the board of directors of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO). He is on the advisory committee of Sound Junction, the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music’s award-winning interactive multimedia educational project. He is a judge on the BBC Choir of the Year.

Eugene is the Artistic Director of Quartet of Peace, an international project initiated by Brian Lisus, the South African luthier who has made a quartet of string instruments in honour of South Africa’s 4 Nobel peace laureates, Dr. Albert Luthuli, Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and FW de Klerk. Quartet of Peace uses music to bring about peaceful resolutions to conflict and poverty, with a special focus on young people.

I choose to support Musicians without Borders over all other international NGOs because I’ve seen the impact of their work: they achieve miracles through the simple, universally human love of music. Thank you for your dedication to vulnerable children in sensitive hotspots around the world.
Diane Lemieux
Author, Canada / Nigeria
Diane Lemieux
Author, Canada / Nigeria
I choose to support Musicians without Borders over all other international NGOs because I’ve seen the impact of their work: they achieve miracles through the simple, universally human love of music. Thank you for your dedication to vulnerable children in sensitive hotspots around the world.

I write about people and cultures with the goal of building bridges of empathy and understanding. I co-authored “The Mobile Life: a new approach to moving anywhere”. This book gives individuals control over the process of change when resettling abroad, thereby improving relationships in our increasingly global world.

I support Musicians without Borders because I believe in the healing power of music. It is said that music is the universal language; there is a natural connective between people through rhythm and a simple melody that can be more powerful than words. MWB’s work is so important because it goes into conflict areas where voices have been oppressed, and gives a song to the voiceless. It can’t really get more inspiring than that.
Samantha Stollenwerck
Musician, traveler, photographer, and philanthropist, US
Samantha Stollenwerck
Musician, traveler, photographer, and philanthropist, US
I support Musicians without Borders because I believe in the healing power of music. It is said that music is the universal language; there is a natural connective between people through rhythm and a simple melody that can be more powerful than words. MWB’s work is so important because it goes into conflict areas where voices have been oppressed, and gives a song to the voiceless. It can’t really get more inspiring than that.

Born and raised in the wildfire-prone digs of Southern California, Samantha Stollenwerck has always drawn upon her West Coast origins to create her own style of lyrical pop music, a sound has landed her on bills with the likes of Dave Matthews Band and Ziggy Marley. Now in 2014, with a full passport and a new country code of residence, Germany, she has expanded her world view to make a record that tips it’s hat to the international realm.

“All the songs are about traveling. I backpacked through upwards of 30 countries in 2012 and wanted to use instruments or music I heard in different countries in the songs, like the balalaika, or Brazilian samba.“ Though she draws upon the world for inspiration on this record, the music is still Samantha’s brand of acoustic-driven pop that her fans know her for.

Samantha formed her first band in college at UC Berkeley, California, quickly gaining a loyal fanbase and support of KFOG radio, performing at venues such as the Fillmore and Shoreline Amphitheater. Samantha has toured extensively over the past decade and has graced the stages at festivals such as Bonnaroo, South by Southwest, Austin City Limits Music Festival and the Super Bowl.

Samantha’s most recent album titled “Carefree” was recorded in Los Angeles with producer Jeff Trott. Jeff is best known for his work with Sheryl Crow, having penned several of Crow’s hit songs such as “Everyday is a Winding Road” and “If It Makes You Happy.” Samantha also collaborated with songwriter Danielle Brisebois who is accredited with several hit songs including Natasha Bedingfield’s singles, “Unwritten” and “Pocket Full of Sunshine”, and rounded out her record by bringing in Grammy Award-winning mixer, Manny Marroquin (Alicia Keyes, Usher, Kanye West).

Samantha’s songs have been featured on TV shows such as One Tree Hill and Comedy Central’s Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time, and has found a niche writing songs for film, brands and causes for HBO Documentaries, Patagonia Music Collective and L*Space Swimwear. She has collaborated in the studio with artists such as Mark Foster (Foster the People) and G. Love (G. Love and Special Sauce) and is a member of Tallboys, an LA-based group comprised of the talent behind artists such as Alanis Morrissette, Pink, Stevie Nicks, Jellyfish and Madonna.

She is involved philanthropically with organizations in the US such as Surfrider and SYRV, a clean-water initiative which focuses on Nicaragua outreach. Recently she used a music video to fundraise for a school-building project in Laos with international education organization Pencils of Promise.

“Travel has deepened my outlook in so many ways. I was in Kurdistan, Russia, even Yemen! To see how these countries and cultures function firsthand made me much more compassionate and well-versed in global events. Most of all, I recognize how fortunate I am, and to not take life for granted.”

Imagine a world without borders, a world where we don't hide behind our false, imaginary, made-up nationalities, races and identities.
I dream of such a world. A world of only one race, nation and citizenship - the human one.
Musicians without Borders teaches us that such a world is not only necessary but also possible if we unite the rhythm and the melody of our heart beats that connect us all.
Merima Ključo
Concert accordionist, Bosnia-Herzegovina / US
Merima Ključo
Concert accordionist, Bosnia-Herzegovina / US
Imagine a world without borders, a world where we don't hide behind our false, imaginary, made-up nationalities, races and identities.
I dream of such a world. A world of only one race, nation and citizenship - the human one.
Musicians without Borders teaches us that such a world is not only necessary but also possible if we unite the rhythm and the melody of our heart beats that connect us all.

Concert accordionist Merima Ključo performs internationally as a recitalist
and has been guest soloist with many orchestras, including the Scottish
Chamber Orchestra, Holland Symphonia, and the Netherlands Radio
Philharmonic Orchestra. As soloist, she has participated in a number of
renowned festivals, including the St. Magnus Festival (Scotland), the City
of London Festival, the Gaudeamus Festival (Amsterdam), and the
Gubaidulina Festival, which honored one of the greatest composers of
our time, Sofia Gubaidulina, in celebration of her 75th birthday.
She was a member of the Checkpoint KBK with Iva Bittova and David
Krakauer, and Serendipity 4 with singers Theodore Bikel and Shura
Lipovsky, and pianist Tamara Brooks, and was a frequent guest of
MusikFabrik, the Asko/Schönberg Ensemble and the Nederlands Blazers
Ensemble. Her performances have been broadcast by the BBC and by
networks all around Europe, North America and Australia.
Ključo composes and arranges, and collaborates with many composers.
She has contributed music to the films In the Land of Blood and Honey,
written and directed by Angelina Jolie, with a score by the Oscar-winning
composer Gabriel Yared, and Jack, by Sergej Kreso, among others, and
has performed in the documentary films Journey 4 Artists, by Michele
Noble, and Stories of Sevdah, by Robert Golden.
In 2006 she was asked by the Bayerischer Rundfunk to compose music
for the radio drama Wie der Soldat das Grammofon repariert, based on
the book by Saša Stanišić, and directed by Leonhard Koppelmann. The
production is published as an audio book by Random House.
Opera and theatre companies with whom Ključo has performed include
the National Jewish Theater, Bremer Theater, the Nederlandse Kinder
Theater and EastWest Theater Company Theater. She has collaborated
with prize-winning theatre directors Daniel Landau, Derek Goldman, and
Haris Pašović among others.
Merima Ključo was invited to perform and compose music (along with the
pianist and conductor Tamara Brooks) for Sholom Alechiem: Laughter
Through Tears, a one-man play, written and performed by the legendary
actor and singer Theodore Bikel. Produced by the National Jewish heater, it played in Washington DC, Florida, Toronto, Montreal, San
Francisco and New York from 2009 to 2012.
In 2012, she was invited by the EastWest Theater Company and the
renowned Bosnian theater director Haris Pašović to compose and
perform Sarajevo Red Line (Sarajevska Crvena Linija) in commemoration
of the 20th anniversary of the Siege of Sarajevo. This piece, which
incorporated traditional songs, pop songs, and classical music, was
performed on April 6, 2012 to an audience of 11,541 empty red chairs
lining the main boulevard in Sarajevo, with one chair for every life lost in
the siege. Thousands of people from all walks of life congregated to
witness and remember.
Traditional music inspired Ključo from an early age and has brought a
unique dimension to her work. As the producer, composer, and arranger
for her highly rated album Zumra (Gramofon, 2009/ Harmonia Mundi UK /
World Village 2010), which featured the Bosnian traditional singer Amira,
she has created a multi-layered classical interpretation of a musical
tradition she treasures. Her compositions and arrangements are original
and contemporary in their juxtaposition of extended techniques with
traditional musical forms. The album was voted by The Sunday Times
(UK) as one of the “Top 100″ albums of 2010”, as well as fourth in “Top
10 World Music Albums”.
Most of the songs on the Zumra album are from Ključo’s song cycle
Sevdah Songs I, composed between 2006-2008. In 2013 composed
Sevdah Songs II (for soprano and accordion). Next to the Bosnian
traditional elements, this composition also includes a song from the
Bosnian Sephardic tradition. Songs of love and desire, but also some
rebellious breaking up with the tradition.
In 2009 and 2012, Schott Music published her books Eastern European
Folk Tunes for Accordion and Klezmer and Sephardic Tunes for
Accordion.
Merima Ključo has given workshops and master classes in conservatories
and universities all over the world, including the Guildhall School of Music
(England), the University of Edinburgh (Scotland), and Syracuse, eorgetown and Long Beach Universities (USA), and she was a faculty
member at Yellow Barn during the 2011 summer season.
She studied accordion at the Srednja Muzička Škola in Sarajevo,
continued her studies with Miny Dekkers at the Rotterdam Conservatory,
and after graduation she was granted a special postgraduate scholarship
for exceptional talent to study at the University of the Arts Bremen, where
she studied with Margit Kern, graduating with a cum laude.

During the Vietnam war, our teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, I and many friends in the Buddhist Peace Delegation in Paris worked closely with Alfred Hassler for peace in our country and in the world. Laura Hassler now continues the work of her father in her own way, through Musicians without Borders. With music, she and her many musician colleagues work to remove barriers from the hearts of those who are still caught in division, pain and hatred. I gladly add my name to those who support the mission and work of Musicians without Borders.
Sister Chân Không
Buddhist nun and peace activist, Vietnam / France
Sister Chân Không
Buddhist nun and peace activist, Vietnam / France
During the Vietnam war, our teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, I and many friends in the Buddhist Peace Delegation in Paris worked closely with Alfred Hassler for peace in our country and in the world. Laura Hassler now continues the work of her father in her own way, through Musicians without Borders. With music, she and her many musician colleagues work to remove barriers from the hearts of those who are still caught in division, pain and hatred. I gladly add my name to those who support the mission and work of Musicians without Borders.

Chan Khong was born Cao Ngoc Phuong in 1938 in Ben Tre, Vietnam in the center of the Mekong Delta. As the eighth of nine children in a well-to-do family, her father taught her and her siblings the value of work and humility. She quotes her father as saying: “…never bargain with a poor farmer because for you a few dong may not be much, but for him it is enough to support his children.”

In 1958 she enrolled in the University of Saigon to study biology. She was also involved in political action, becoming the student leader at the University, spending much of her time helping the poor and sick in the slums of the city.

She first met Thich Nhat Hanh in 1959 and considered him her spiritual teacher. In 1963 she left for Paris to finish her degree in biology which was awarded in 1964. She returned to Vietnam later that year and joined Thich Nhat Hanh in founding the Van Hanh University and the School for Youth and Social Service (SYSS). She was central in many of the activities of the SYSS which organized medical, educational and agricultural facilities in rural Vietnam during the war. At one stage the SYSS involved over 10,000 young peace workers who rebuilt many villages ravaged by the fighting. When Thich Nhat Hanh returned to the United States, Chan Khong ran the day to day operations.

On February 5, 1966 Chân Không was ordained as one of the first six members of the Order of Interbeing, sometimes called the “Six Cedars”. Following her ordination, she was given the name Sister Chan Khong, True Emptiness. In explaining the meaning of the name, she says: “In Buddhism, the word ’emptiness’ is a translation of the Sanskrit sunyata. It means ’empty of a separate self.’ It is not a negative or despairing term. It is a celebration of interconnectedness, of interbeing. It means nothing can exist by itself alone, that everything is inextricably interconnected with everything else. I know that I must always work to remember that I am empty of a separate self and full of the many wonders of this universe, including the generosity of my grandparents and parents, the many friends and teachers who have helped and supported me along the path, and you dear readers, without whom this book could not exist. We inter-are, and therefore we are empty of an identity that is separate from our interconnectedness.”

The Order of Interbeing was to be composed of monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen. The first six ordainees were free to choose whether they preferred to live and practice as formal monastics or as laypersons. The first three women chose to live celibate lives like nuns, although we didn’t shave our heads, while the three men chose to marry and practice as lay Buddhists. Among the three women was Nhat Chi Mai, who immolated herself for peace just a year later.

From 1969 to 1972 she worked with Thich Nhat Hanh in Paris organizing the Buddhist Peace Delegation which campaigned for peace in Vietnam. Since then she has worked with Thich Nhat Hanh establishing first the Sweet Potato community near Paris, then Plum Village Sangha in 1982. She accompanies and assists Thich Nhat Hanh when he travels. In addition, she has continued to organize relief work for those in need in Vietnam, coordinating relief food parcels for poor children and medicine for the sick, and helps organize activities at Plum Village.

During the three-month return to Vietnam (January to early April, 2005), Thich Nhat Hanh spoke to thousands of people throughout the country – bureaucrats, politicians, intellectuals, street vendors, taxi drivers, artists. In addition to Thich Nhat Hanh’s Dharma talks, Sister Chan Khong also taught and conducted additional mindfulness practices. She led the crowds in singing Plum Village songs, chanting, and leading “total relaxation” sessions. Other times, it was her simple application of Vietnamese heritage to modern ways of life that appealed to the people they met. During Tết (Vietnamese new year) celebrations in February, she performed an “oracle reading” for hundreds of Buddhist followers.

I sing Sevdah, the music that expresses the heart of this region and its history that has linked the destinies of many peoples. And I am a citizen, hoping for a better world, open societies and a culture of nonviolence in the Balkans and around the world. Musicians without Borders shares these values, and as a musician, I proudly add my voice to support their work around the world.
Damir Imamović
Singer, composer and performer, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Damir Imamović
Singer, composer and performer, Bosnia-Herzegovina
I sing Sevdah, the music that expresses the heart of this region and its history that has linked the destinies of many peoples. And I am a citizen, hoping for a better world, open societies and a culture of nonviolence in the Balkans and around the world. Musicians without Borders shares these values, and as a musician, I proudly add my voice to support their work around the world.

Damir Imamović (DI) was born in 1978 in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Although he showed interest in music since childhood, he devoted himself to it only after studying philosophy. In 2004 he worked with Farah Tahirbegović on a monography of his grandfather, one of Bosnia’s most influental sevdah singers – Zaim Imamović. That book introduced him to the world of sevdah and the world of professional music. Soon he started developing his own repertoire while performing in Bosnia and abroad.

Since 2012 Damir performs the most with critically acclaimed “Damir Imamović Sevdah Takht”, together with Ivan Mihajlović (bass) and Nenad Kovačić (percussion). In October 2012 they released their first CD together and toured Europe.

Damir Imamović’s sevdah is based on passionate research of traditional Bosnian music. While meeting sevdah masters, musicians, singers and authors of this art form, he constantly expands his repertoire and creates a special style of contemporary sevdah. Director Marina Andree made a documentary «Sevdah» (www.sevdahfilm.com), inspired by an emotional part of this process. The film won the Audience award in Sarajevo Film Festival (2009). On an artisan part of the project, «SevdahLab» project was born – a travelling interactive laboratory of sevdah in which Damir explores history and aesthetics of this traditional art.

As a North African, international singer and songwriter I seek my inspiration from the people of the world that we live in. My music is for them, and I see no borders, obstacles, or division between us. All I see are possibilities to bring peace, healing love, and hope to those who need it most. Musicians Without Borders is a tremendous organization who helps to create this everyday for everyone with their mission and inspire change towards a more beautiful future.
Yassin Algero
Singer, composer, and music producer, Algeria / US
Yassin Algero
Singer, composer, and music producer, Algeria / US
As a North African, international singer and songwriter I seek my inspiration from the people of the world that we live in. My music is for them, and I see no borders, obstacles, or division between us. All I see are possibilities to bring peace, healing love, and hope to those who need it most. Musicians Without Borders is a tremendous organization who helps to create this everyday for everyone with their mission and inspire change towards a more beautiful future.

Yassin Algero was born in Algeria in the city of Setif. Prior to entering the music world, Yassin was a student of economics and finance. A class at school sparked his curiosity in music. It soon became a growing interest and passion which continued to fuel his ongoing dreams of becoming a singer and musician. He began his involvement with music by playing percussion instruments with his friends at school and soon progressed to the keyboard and guitar. Yassin is a self taught musicians, and honed his skills by listening to a variety of international music in order to absorb the best qualities of each to form his own particular style.

Around the age of seventeen, his cousins and friends approached him and asked if he would be interested in singing with their band. From the moment that he first took hold of the microphone and stepped onto his first public stage, he was hooked. The band grew to have a popular following and began touring in small venues all around the country. At twenty years of age, Yassin joined a new band in the city which ushered in a new interest in songwriting, producing, and musical arrangement. Yassin began to collaborate with other singers and music producers and joined a larger band located in the capital of Algeria.

Yassin started touring in Tunisia, and then Egypt where he found increasing popularity. In 2005, he was chosen by a music producer to tour in the United States. He performed his first American concert in Detroit, opening for the famous Tunisian singer, Saber Elrobai. He fell in love with America and moved to New York City, where he continues to write and perform music.