30 young musicians from 20 countries visited Oxford for Ethno England – a week-long residential exchange programme in June organised by the International Links Officer in partnership with Tandem Collective. The project uses peer-to-peer learning to encourage democratic engagement between young people of different cultures, breaking down cultural barriers through music, and is overseen by Jeunesses Musicales International.
The musicians, aged 19 – 30, included representatives from our twin cities in the Netherlands and Russia, as well as from our emerging link with Wroclaw, and countries around the world including India, Zimbabwe, Iraq, Estonia, Venezuela, Turkey, France, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, China and many more. The participants took it in turns to teach each other a piece of music from their traditional culture, and created a world music ensemble which performed in Bonn Square, at Tandem Festival, and at venues in Wales, Newcastle and Edinburgh. The musicians also visited Campsfield House to give a special performance and workshop for detainees, and gave a workshop for 80 schoolchildren from Rose Hill Primary and Magdalen College schools.
Mara, from Leiden, said:
“Spending a week with musicians all over the world. Could you think of something more fun? When I was asked to join Ethno England I thought this would be a very special opportunity. During Ethno England about 20 young musicians from all over the world teach each other songs or tunes from their country. This experience was even more special than I expected. Arriving in England I had a warm welcome in a group of lovely musicians. Which became to feel like a family during the week. In Ethno we play folk music and learn by ear. For me being recorder player and not a folk musician it was very interesting and instructive to come into contact with a totally different way of playing music than I am used to. Not playing music from dots and attempting to play everything as perfect as possible, but learning by ear, creating an atmosphere together and make it sound great as a group. The highlights of the week were busking in Oxford, driving around in a truck while playing and the concert at Tandem festival. It was lovely to be around with musicians playing music all day.
I’m really grateful that I got the opportunity to participate in Ethno England and I definitely want to go again. Thanks to Ethno England I have great new friends and it opened a totally new way of making music for me.”