OneBeat to give workshops, perform

Sep. 27, 2013 @ 07:27 AM

A percussionist from Kenya, a violinist from the United States, and a pianist from Burma are among the members of OneBeat, a group of 25 musicians from around the world who are currently touring the East Coast, performing concerts and giving workshops. The tour comes to Durham today and Saturday for a series of workshops in schools and other venues, and three public concerts.

KidZNotes, the Durham nonprofit organization that fights poverty by teaching classical music to children, will do a workshop with members of OneBeat. KidZNotes students will get a workshop in improvisation from the OneBeat musicians, said Katie Wyatt, violinist and director of KidZNotes.
Saturday, KidZNotes will team with OneBeat and perform what they learned in the workshop, Wyatt said. “It’s important for our students to hear this music and meet these people from all over the world,” Wyatt said, “We’re  about creating young musicians who see themselves as members of this worldwide community of creative people.”
Creating that type of community through music is one of the goals of OneBeat, which is a program of New York-based new music ensemble Bang on a Can’s Found Sound Nation group. The U.S. Department of State also funds the program as a cultural exchange. Found Sound’s mission is musical collaboration, and the organization created a mobile music studio that went to schools and public places. Visitors could compose music, which the composers and musicians in Found Sound would record and send back to them, said Chris Marianetti, cofounder and director of OneBeat.
For many years the State Department has sent musicians abroad as cultural ambassadors. When the department issued a call for new ideas for cultural exchange, Found Sound proposed using some of its collaborative ideas. “If we inverse that model” of sending musicians abroad, “and bring musicians here and perform and collaborate, what would that look like?” Marianetti said. OneBeat was born and the first tour was in 2012. This year Found Sound Nation reached out to 39 countries and got more than 1,500 applicants, Marianetti said.
Among the 25 musicians chosen from 16 countries are percussionist Kasiva Mutua of Kenya, violinist and vocalist Sarah Alden of the United States, and pianist-composer Parami Shyon of Burma.
In preparation for the concerts and workshops on the tour, OneBeat members have been collaborating among themselves, forming in different groups, playing music, and creating sounds and compositions, drawing from the popular and traditional songs of their respective countries.
It’s been a process of discovery. “Before I came here, I wasn’t exposed much to music from Asia and South America,” said percussionist Mutua. She has learned about wind and string instruments that she has never heard or seen before. Mutua also expressed admiration for the way Omar Amado of Venezuela plays drums and percussion.
The collaboration process among OneBeat members has included talking, discovering each other’s music, then playing music together, Mutua said. “Out of the jamming, we create [music]. You can actually hear something special when you start playing,” she said.
Fellows who participated in OneBeat in 2012 are still collaborating, and Marianetti said he hopes ongoing collaborations continue among the 2013 musicians.
In addition to the KidZNotes performance, OneBeat will perform today at Morehead Planetarium, and Saturday at Motorco. The audiences will hear the fruit of the musicians’ collaborations, Marianetti said. “You enter a process,” he said of a OneBeat concert. Audiences should prepare to hear “sonic combinations that perhaps haven’t even been explored yet.”

Go and Do

WHAT: OneBeat concert with Sacrificial Poets and the Chapel Hill Community Beat Making Lab
WHERE: Morehead Planetarium, UNC, 250 E. Franklin St.
WHEN: Today, 8 p.m.
ADMISSION: $7. For information, visit

WHAT: OneBeat concert with KidZNotes
WHERE: Holton Career and Resource Center, 410 N. Driver St., Durham
WHEN: Saturday, 10:30 a.m. 

WHAT: OneBeat concert
WHERE: Motorco Music Hall, 723 Rigsbee Ave., Durham
WHEN: Saturday, 9 p.m.
ADMISSION: $10 suggested donation

More information: