A RITMO DE CAMBIO
The Healing Power of Music project was born out of research for our 2009 Reconciliation Forum, where we came across several examples of music being used to foster processes of conflict resolution and development: Daniel Baremboim’s Israeli-Palestinian orchestra; Canta Conmigo Para la Reintegracion, which gives demobilized Colombian guerrillas and paramilitaries an avenue to become reinserted into society; and Afroreggae in Brazil, an organization that promotes reconciliation and education in the slums, or favelas. We sensed that there was a lot of power behind the idea of music as a tool for social betterment.
Our first step was to partner with Playing for Change to bring the organization to Latin American in the form of A RITMO DE CAMBIO. Together, PLAYING FOR CHANGE and ABC* committed to travel around Latin America, recording country-specific songs and committing to develop a local social project in each country visited.
We began with Colombia, and reached out to Carlos Vives, the Colombian superstar, who graciously donated his song “La Tierra del Olvido” for the project. Our team traveled across the country and brought together over 80 musicians to produce Una Cancion Por Colombia – A Song for Colombia – which was unveiled at the 2010 World Economic Forum.
Inspired by our work with the Playing for Change Foundation we created a project intended to inspire businesses in Colombia to join in giving back. We focused our energies on Palenque, a small community whose inhabitants are descendants of escaped slaves. The Palenqueros were an integral part of the Song for Colombia, and it felt natural to help foster their musical culture.
Knowing full well the importance of setting up a sustainable and accountable model, we looked for a partner that could run a foundation to operate the project, and sell and distribute the music effectively. We formed a partnership with the Almacenes Exito Foundation, and are now working with to produce a CD of the Palenqueros music. All the proceeds from the CD will be donated to the Palenque project.
Colombia was a great first step. But we want to continue to reach out to Latin Americans across the continent. Looking ahead, our goal is to touch 9 more communities across the region.
In the end, the Healing Power of Music initiative will showcase 9 songs in 9 countries, and demonstrate how organizations and individuals got together to help strengthen these communities, and unite the region through music.
The album’s 10th and final song will be recorded in Miami in the fall of 2012.