Sunday, October 23, 2011

AV 2 SIUE; Kurdpop 2 K-Pop

So as I briefly mentioned in my previous blog, I am working now for American Voices as their Director of Communication.  American Voices does cultural diplomacy work in transitioning countries, and brings American roots music (jazz, blues, bluegrass, hiphop, classical) to such exotic locales as Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan.  We hosts YES (Youth Excellence on Stage) Academies for theater and musical education in Jordan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Thailand and some other locations.  More info to come, but that is still in a holding pattern.

American Voices also sponsors a number of music students in the U.S., including three that live with Marc Thayer, our Director of Education.  Marc has two Kurdish violinists and a Maronite Lebanese violinist staying with him.  A few nights ago, we took the music students plus two other AV sponsored students from Kurdistan and caravened across state lines to Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIUE!) to give a presentation about cultural diplomacy and American Voices' work.

When we arrived, we found out that the piano we needed was otherwise supposed to be in use by a gospel choir.  So we played #Occupythepiano, and stole the baby grand.  The Kurdish music students performed traditional Kurdish music on violin, oud and percussion, and John (the exec dir) and Marc spoke about American Voices work.  We also showed a cool clip of a cultural diplomacy hit from AV called "Camp Unity"

 After dinner, we took the Middle Eastern violin troupe out for Korean food. Kurdpop to K-pop. I conducted gastrodiplomacy as I taught the Kurds to use chopsticks and forced them to try kimchi. They weren't big fans, but they like the bulgogi.

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