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Wade in the water – Singing for social change

This session was arranged by Kristel Pedak, Mothomoni Mapela-Mphatja, Victoria Liedbergius and Kate Declerck all of which have acquiered impressive experiences of the social power of choir music, despite they all come from different backgrounds. Central in every presentation was the question how exactly the experience of unity, as a result of joint singing, can be sustainable once the music stops and how this can be translate into civic action.
Highlighting the non-violent power of choral singing Kristel Pedak gave a historic overview of the Estonian tradition of singing for social change, which reached its peak at the end of the 1980’s when Estonia free itself from the Soviet occupation through the Singing Revolution without a single shot being fired.

Mothomoni Mapela-Mphatja explained how Africans are united by singing even though they have to face big cultural differences. As a result of the historic and present political instability Africa developed a strong tradition of joint singing for protest, proclaiming social and educational problems, poverty and the constancy of the HIV/Aids difficulty but also touching upon issues like  climate change or women. In relation to this Mr Mapela underlined that joint singing means a strong backing for the individual a source of power and hope not to give up encouraging for social change.

Unity, not as a result of mutual social problems or demands, by celebrated simply for itself and a great joint experience exists in the World Youth Choir. Victora Liedbergius explained how this choir – without any speeches or banners – only by its presence can support the message of international peace, brotherhood and the vitality of life itself in such a way, that UNESCO named this project Artists for Peace.

Another aspect of change as a result of music and singing but not related to choirs was showed by Kate Declerck, who presented the Fair Play Anti-Corruption Youth Voices a project successfully organised by the World Bank Institute, JMI Foundation and the Global Youth Anti-Corruption Network. The project aims to mobilise the youth  in particular to fight against corruption by announcing contests for songs handling the problems of corruption as well as participating at anti-corruption conferences.

Photos by Vahur Lõhmus. All rights reserved.


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