Together In Harmony

William Congreve once wrote “Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak” and a new initiative to provide a cross-cultural music festival in Worcester is aiming to demonstrate the power of music to soothe, soften and bend negative and hostile attitudes and misconceptions.

Harmonia is a newly established group of Worcester city based volunteers who intend to put on a cross-cultural music festival that brings together Eastern European musicians and communities with other music cultures from Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, the Middle East and Western Europe to show how music can bring people, families and communities together to improve cross-cultural understanding, promote tolerance and integration and to reduce fear, misunderstanding and barriers.

Marcin Petliński is the Polish born DJ now living in Worcester who leads the group. Back in Poland Marcin has his own Foundation, the equivalent of a UK charity, called Sounds of Soul http://doakcept.leonardo.pl/sos/pl,2,fundacja.html an internet radio station and foundation based in Katowice. Marcin is looking for a UK based charity to partner Sounds of Soul in bringing together the communities of Worcester and Katowice in a virtual twinning culminating in the festival which will see bands, comedians, artists and street performers from Eastern Europe performing alongside other cultural groups, artists and musicians from the UK. Marcin says, “We hope to unite people from all cultures across Worcestershire through the universal medium of music which speaks to us all. If we can listen together to music from different cultures perhaps we will better hear what each has to say without the barrier of language.”

The Harmonia festival aims to work with the City Council to host events across the city in parks and streets over a weekend in the Autumn of 2013. Harmonia is currently a constituted community group and unincorporated association that is being supported by Community First Organisation Coach Nick Comley to look at appropriate legal forms. Nick says, “As a Polish Foundation, Sounds of Soul are not recognised by many UK based grant making foundations and trusts so we are looking at ‘twinning’ as a way to collaborate across Europe to facilitate better integration and social inclusion without creating a new UK registered charity unnecessarily.” The European Foundation Project may soon see charitable organisations recognised throughout Europe under the European Foundation Statute http://www.efc.be Until then partnerships are likely to prove the most effective mechanism for cross-border collaboration.

In a world where grants are hard to come by and increasingly fiercely competitive this collaborative approach is a welcome innovation and it is hoped that a local Worcestershire based charity involved in equality and diversity, arts or social inclusion will come forward to develop this mutually beneficial partnership.

For more information about Harmonia and to discuss how your charity might benefit from working with the Sounds of Soul Foundation here in the UK please email Marcin at petlinski.marcin@gmail.com or telephone 07453 560860 or contact Nick Comley at nickc@comfirst.org.uk or on 01684 312751.

 

To read this article in Polish click here

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