Music connects

Cultures in harmony

Dear Sound Art Interested,

Refugees have been pouring into Europe for years. The reaction of more and more people in this country are demarcation and xenophobia. Out of the pressure of suffering, I felt a desire to do something. The idea was born to make music with refugees. My friend Jörn Wiertz organized a charity concert in the Protestant Church of Rosbach an der Sieg.
In the run-up to this concert, I invited refugees and locals via a newsletter to play music together. Anyone who wanted to attend was welcome – no matter which country, man or woman, young or old, musician or non-musician.
We played on musical instruments developed by me. I gave only a few small specifications, within which all participants could develop freely.
Everyone was able to prove to themselves that he has a sense of musical beauty and is thus able to create beautiful sounds, even if he has never before held an instrument in his hand.
Among refugees and locals there were also some musicians who brought their instrument to our meetings and played – on the tambour, the oud, the neyhambone, a Persian bagpipe as well as the violin, trumpet or flute.
Finally, two local choirs performed at the concert. First, music from the Occident and the East was contrasted. Only later did our improvisations begin. Based on a keynote and carried by the sounds of my overtone-tuned instruments, music of different cultures met.
At the end lullabies were sung. They were recited in a Kurdish, Arabic, Persian or German language via a soundtrack created jointly. First they were sung one after the other. In the end, all the songs flowed together improvisational.
As allready mentioned – there were hardly any professional musicians but mostly laymen at work. And our performances were not perfect. Maybe that was the reason why such a heart-opening atmosphere arose. The musician refugees showed something of themselves as well as their cultural background. The interaction with the locals gave rise to a very harmonious yet completely new music. One could guess that the immigration could mean a tremendous cultural enrichment for us. The four hundred concertgoers in the overcrowded church listened intently. Finally, there was stormy applause.
You can watch a video clip of our concert here:

Even weeks later, I always get the feedback that this concert was a positive impulse for many. For the Germans, because their fear of strangers could turn into sympathy and interest. And for the refugees, because after such terrible war and flight experiences, perhaps so many Germans listened sympathetically for the first time.

For me, the greatest thing is when art and music unfold beneficial effects in social life. It showed us what music can do. It can be reduced to this simple formula: the opposite of a weapon is a musical instrument. With weapons you destroy, with music you can heal.

In the last state elections, the AFD, which even demands the shooting order against refugees, drove double-digit results. This makes it clear that everywhere in our country people are threatened by fear and that projects as described here are actually urgently needed in many places.

If you want to realize such musical encounters sometimes your environment and still have questions about the concrete implementation, sign up! I would like to help you.

We have many inquiries regarding further concerts. I’ve teamed up with the musicians I’ve met among the refugees, as well as German musicians. As far as we can, we also want to make music and give concerts with refugees and locals elsewhere, as described here.

In the hope of a philanthropic future and with warm regards,

Jochen Fassbender