Latin America

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

Venezuelan Musicians in Crisis Recreate Musical Identity across the World

06-02-2021

Across the world, members of the music for social change movement hold a special connection to Venezuela, and many feel great concern for the astoundingly difficult circumstances its people have faced in recent years. The ongoing crisis remains massively under-reported in the media and under-funded by the global community. Brookings Institution calls this “the largest and most under-funded refugee crisis in modern history”; Venezuela is on track to overtake Syria as the country with the most displaced people, with 5.4 million and counting. Meanwhile, the international community has committed significantly less funding to Venezuelans. Four years into the Syrian crisis, $7.4 billion in international aid ($1,500 per refugee) had been amassed, while at a similar point in Venezuela’s crisis, only $580 million has been spent ($125 per person).

Orchestras of the Venezuelan Diaspora

05-05-2021

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are 5.4 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants worldwide—one of the largest displacement crises in the world. Many among these are former students, teachers, and leaders of El Sistema, Venezuela’s national youth orchestra program, founded by Maestro José Antonio Abreu in 1975; this growing diaspora has been shaping and enriching cultures in host countries. Displaced Venezuelans continue to make beautiful music, and not just as teachers and solo performers. Across the world, Venezuelan-founded orchestras continue to pop up, no less technically brilliant than those that made El Sistema a globally adapted model. One article in the magazine Guataca, which promotes Venezuelan music and musical initiatives around the world, reminds us of that continuing legacy.

School Youth Orchestras in Rio de Janeiro: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Development

04-07-2021

Morro da Providência, a vast hillside favela (slum) in Rio de Janeiro, is the oldest favela in Brazil. In 2011, over a hundred years after it was first occupied by unpaid war veterans and freed slaves, a group of local residents passionate about social change launched the Cultural Association Amigos da Providência. During the past decade, that association has developed into the Brazilian Institute of Music and Education (IBME), which pursues artistic, educational, and professional training projects for children, adolescents, and young people in the public school system.

Save the Date: July 19-31, 2021

04-07-2021

Sistema Europe and Acción Social por la Música are partnering in a two-year Sistema Europe Youth Orchestra project, “We Play to Transform the World.” During Summer 2021, an online SEYO Summerfest 21 will provide a digital space for online performances, thought sessions, and classes; all will be open and free to Sistema-inspired participants from Europe and around the world. Sessions will also include rehearsal classes and preparation work for SEYO Madrid 22, when Acción Social por la Música will host the 2022 SEYO Festival in Madrid.

Safe Passage through Music for the Children of Armonia Cuscatleca, El Salvador

03-03-2021

Looking back, Pablo is sure it was the all-night music-making that inspired him.

Born in war-time El Salvador, Pablo Mendez Granadino grew up in Los Angeles after his parents had fled from their village, San Pedro Perulapán. There had been musicians in his family for generations; he studied violin as a child and taught for five years at L.A.’s Harmony Project, an El Sistema–based music project for children from underserved communities. Chances to return to El Salvador to see his extended family were few and far between; when he went back to San Pedro in June 2015, it had been 15 years since his last visit. He was 30 years old.

Global Bonding through the Arts: The Latin American Art for Social Transformation Network

02-03-2021

The idea that arts and arts education can propel social transformation is emerging as a crucial force in every part of the world. And yet the programs devoted to this idea are often small, underfunded, and local in scope. To create a genuinely powerful movement, we need greater interconnection. A good first step in the process of worldwide connection is the forging of regional, intra-continental networks.

“Música para Respirar 24/7”: Bolivian Musicians Mobilized During Pandemic Crisis

02-03-2021

As I finish the now-common hour-long Zoom conference and sit still on my piano bench, I know that the image of my last audience will hover atop my most precious musical memories for a long time. They are a family based in Catalunya who recently lost one of their children to COVID-19. Now, quarantined at home due to strict local measures to fight the pandemic, they became my listeners as I played for them some of their deceased child’s favorite music—an online concert of remembrance.

The Abreu Chamber Choir

01-06-2021

The Abreu Chamber Choir (ACC) is a vocal group formed by young Venezuelan singers who grew up in El Sistema programs but are currently residing in several countries in Europe. The group was founded because of a desire to return to making music with colleagues and friends. We have organized a number of concerts, collaborative learning days, and training workshops for young singers and conductors, continuing the legacy and visionary teachings of Maestro José Antonio Abreu.

Road Tripping through Mexico with Linda and the Mockingbirds

12-02-2020

“Hey, Verenice! We are taking a bus with Linda to Sonora—we’d like you to join us with your fiddle.” I was in my third year at UC San Diego when Eugene Rodriguez, Founder and Director of Los Cenzontles, called me with an invitation to take a very special trip. Just a few months later, I was on a bus to Sonora, Mexico with Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, several Cenzontles, and many more family and friends, embarking on a musical journey that was filmed to create Linda and the Mockingbirds.

El Sistema Venezuela: Academic Strategies in Times of Confinement

11-04-2020

As the new school year takes off, we think it is a good moment to reach out to our friends in Sistema-inspired projects around the world, to share our experiences in teaching and caring for our kids throughout the months of quarantine.

Share

© Copyright 2021 Ensemble News