OneBeat, the pioneering global music initiative from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Bang on a Can’s Found Sound Nation, will have its first-ever engagement in Seattle next week.
Spanning a six-day period from November 2-7, OneBeat’s 25 artists, musicians and producers from 17 countries and territories—ranging from a traditional Balkan vocalist and Senegalese Griot to Red Bull Music Academy alumni and an urban cumbia accordionist from Colombia—will spread out across the city for a week of live concerts, educational workshops, artist collaborations and mobile “street studios” that invite the public to create and produce music with OneBeat artists during spotlight events at the Columbia City Theater and Museum of History and Industry.
“We’re excited to bring our crew of OneBeat musicians — and the powerful global micro-culture they create — to Seattle, and to cross-pollinate musical ideas with the incredible community of socially engaged artists here,” says Jeremy Thal, OneBeat co-director.
OneBeat:Seattle is the culmination of the groundbreaking music initiative’s month-long residency in the U.S., and the product of months of planning with the Seattle Office of Film + Music, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and producer-arts philanthropist, Compound. An unprecedented city-wide event, the Seattle engagement is highlighted by collaborations with local artists and partners—from the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute to a cohort of musicians from the Jack Straw Cultural Center—all of whom are joining forces to bring OneBeat’s global mission to life, locally.
OneBeat kicks off its dynamic Seattle engagement on November 2nd with a private welcome event at the Museum of History and Industry featuring a “teaser” performance with local composer and trumpeter, Owuor Arunga (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Physics) and a public street studio set against a backdrop of the museum’s “The Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop” exhibit—co-curated by Aaron Walker-Loud, one of the many teaching artists working with OneBeat this fall.
Following the welcome event, audiences have the opportunity to experience OneBeat:Seattle throughout the week via five public performances featuring individual and ensemble works from OneBeat artists, public discussions on the impact of social innovation and activism in music, and on-stage collaborations with Arunga and local hip-hop artist Draze and Afro-Folk singer Naomi Wachira. Some performances also incorporate unique music curations developed with local presenters that activate some of Seattle’s most iconic interiors–from galleries of the Seattle Art Museum (November 6th) to the ceilings of St. Mark’s Cathedral (November 7th).
In partnership with EMP Museum and the Creative Advantage, OneBeat is also headed to Seattle Public Schools for a week of music workshops, culminating in a multi-school, daytime performance at the EMP on November 6th. This event continues OneBeat’s founding principle of youth education and engagement, and features collaborative performances with student-groups that include Big World Breaks percussion ensemble, Simba Youth Marimba Ensemble and Roosevelt and Ingraham High School choirs.
OneBeat was introduced to the city by Seattle-native Santhosh Daniel of Compound, and championed by directors Kate Becker and Randy Engstrom of the Office of Film + Music (OFM) and Office of Arts & Culture. A first-of-its-kind community arts endeavor for Seattle with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Bang on a Can’s Found Sound Nation, OneBeat’s presence will be felt long after its departure through relationships forged between local artists and producers and OneBeat’s global network of alumni, and a OneBeat:Seattle “mixtape” showcasing music produced through this collaboration with OFM’s “Seattle City of Music” vision.
“We are honored that OneBeat chose Seattle for its first-ever city-partnership. It’s an inspiring opportunity and a testament to the mission of OneBeat, our music-loving city and what’s possible when we work together,” says Kate Becker, director of the Seattle Office of Film + Music.
Read more about OneBeat and it’s week-long series of events here.