Asia/Oceania

The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.

World Children’s Music Festival 2021 in Tokyo: Let’s Play, Sing, and Strive

04-07-2021

Back in 2018, the Friends of El Sistema Japan organization made a plan to host a “World Children’s Music Festival” in Tokyo in April 2020. Of course, the pandemic made this plan impossible. But the organization was determined to make it happen in 2021.

Call to Action: Young People in Afghanistan Need Our Support

03-17-2021

The government of Afghanistan recently announced new regulations that take away the right for young people to sing.

Call to Action: Sing in Solidarity with Our Myanmar Colleagues

03-03-2021

An audiovisual project called “Sing in Solidarity with Myanmar Citizens,” launched in response to the military coup initiated in Myanmar on February 1, 2021, has attracted thousands of singing supporters across the world. The organizers, who include musicians and dancers from the inclusive music education program Gitameit Music Institute (read our 2020 feature on them here), have invited the international community to video-record themselves singing a short new song produced by the Myanmar Civil Disobedience Movement/Campaign.

The Learning behind NEO-Learning

02-03-2021

In the semi-remote town of Roebourne in the Pilbara region of the Western Australian Desert, the lack of attainment of Aboriginal young people in the Western education system does not reflect their place-based cultural literacies, which completely outstrip their city-based counterparts from Australia’s most successful schools, suburbs, and socio-economic cultures. They are so advanced and so advantaged in many Indigenous knowledge banks—over which their families and Elders are custodians—that they revel, often unknowingly (or the knowing is suppressed) in a unique cultural advantage.

Diversity and Inclusion: A Challenge from Tokyo, Japan

01-06-2021

Tokyo White Hands Chorus (TWHC) is a socially inclusive choral group based in Tokyo. Although we initially started with the singing group, comprised of hearing impaired and challenged children, the group now also includes a vocal group of visually impaired and challenged children.

The Toki School of Music: A Living Legacy in Rapa Nui

11-04-2020

Rapa Nui, the most isolated inhabited place on earth, is the birthplace of the Rapanui people, who call their island “the navel of the world.” With deep, ancient roots, the island attempts to balance its past—including difficult recent memories of colonization in the 1860s—with its prosperous growth in the Western context. In this unique setting, music has played a pivotal role in building collaboration and coexistence between multiple cultures and lifestyles. In my opinion, no organization has embodied that balance more than the Toki School of Music, which celebrates its people’s authenticity in an increasingly modern world.

Crisis Relief Grants

09-18-2020

With funding support from the Australian Government through the Office for the Arts, the Support Act has expanded its services to offer Crisis Relief to music industry professionals impacted by COVID-19. Musicians and arts workers were hit hard by the pandemic, and these grants are an opportunity to help those still working to make ends meet. There is no deadline to apply; please share with any Australian musicians or music workers you know. Click here to learn more.

From Lapu-Lapu to Toledo: The Influence of El Sistema in Cebu, Philippines

09-02-2020

Most of The World Ensemble reporting for the Philippines thus far has been about the Sistema-based program Ang Misyon in Manila, the Philippine capital. Unbeknownst to many—including myself, I must confess—there are many other robust Sistema-based programs all over the country that are equally worthy of feature but have not yet been given due visibility. In this article, I feature five such programs in Cebu, the place I call home. It is my hope that my writing this will pave the way for more equitable coverage.

Editorial: Virtual Music-Making as a Tool for Diplomacy

09-02-2020

As the world went into lockdown this year, most educational institutions throughout the world adapted to a new virtual learning environment. Musical classes and performances were no exception. But music is fundamentally a field that relies on subtle human interactions, bringing people physically together. The abrupt change has meant unfamiliar territory for many.

Raising a New Generation of Musicians in Afghanistan

08-05-2020

Afghanistan, a land that weaves a vibrant tapestry of cultures and peoples, continues to undergo conflict even after decades of unrest. Its people keenly feel the heartaches of incalculable loss but continue to persevere. Through this war-weary land, a river of cultural, musical, and artistic heritage flows from the civilizations of the Persia-Central Asia region and the Indian subcontinent. That river was forced to become subterranean in the late 20th century, when the country was embroiled in civil war, but it is now rising to the surface once more.

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