In Europe’s most divided city, Mitrovica in Kosovo, the conflict between Serb and Albanian communities still continues with barricaded bridges over the Ibar river, increased tensions and regular outbursts of violence. Musicians without Borders and partners CBM and the Fontys Rockacademie have successfully run an inter-ethnic youth project since 2008.
The Mitrovica Rock School provides a neutral platform for youth from both sides of ethnically divided Mitrovica to meet as young musicians and aspiring rock stars. 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. They use a shared training curriculum, developed in cooperation with the Fontys Rock Academy. The Rock School became an independent organization with its own management in 2013.
The Rock School has a talent development program for mixed bands called the Remix Band Program. The first ethnically mixed band was the Artchitects, which received much international recognition both for their music and for their roles as ambassadors for interethnic cooperation. Since then, the Rock School has had 13 ethnically mixed band, a number that grows every year. In 2015, mixed bands started rehearsing and performing in Kosovo, a major step for the project and the city of Mitrovica.
Our annual summer school is a pivotal part of interethnic cooperation in Mitrovica. This seven-day program brings some 40 young musicians from north and south Mitrovica together to form new mixed bands or work more intensely with their existing mixed bands. The week ends with a major outdoor concert, with audience from north and south Mitrovica.