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A Method which Actually Works:
Solving International and Interpersonal Problems without Fear or Anger

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Musicalmissionsofpeace
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Lonely Planet

 

Here is what the Lonely Planet
Has to Say about Our Work:

May, 2009 Lonely Planet Guide to the Middle East:
Musicians for Peace
Article by Anthony Ham describes work of Musical Missions of Peace in Arab World

Musicians for Peace

It’s not every American musician who can claim to have learned to play the oud (Middle Eastern lute) like an Iraqi, mastered the complexity of the maqam scale system and played love songs on a Baghdad street in the dangerous aftermath of the US invasion of Iraq. But then Cameron Powers is not your ordinary musician.

Together with his partner, singer Kristina Sophia, Powers was seriously disillusioned with his country’s response to the terrorist attack on 11 September 2001. When we caught up with them in Lattakia, Syria, in May 2008 on their fifth visit to the region, Powers and Sophia spoke of how they performed with a Palestinian musician in Boulder, Colorado two weeks after the attacks, a concert that only went ahead when the word “Palestinian” was removed from the promotional material. Experiences such as these prompted the couple to make their first trip to the Middle East in November 2002, hoping to build bridges between Western and Arab cultures through what they call “the warmth, beauty and sensuality of Arab music.”

The welcome they received from ordinary Arabs convinced them to return. In Spring 2003, impromptu performances for the Iraqi visa-issuing authorities and border officials saw Powers and Sophia granted permission to enter Iraq - “music is an instant passport” is his explanation. Unable to find any functioning concert venues in post-invasion Baghdad, they simply began performing on the streets. “The fact that we were on the streets of Baghdad singing Iraqi love songs, showed the Iraqi people that Americans could also invade with music,” Powers told us. He later wrote a book Singing in Baghdad (available from www.gldesignpub.com) about the experience. A performance before 60,000 people in Cairo followed the same year.

Struck by the warmth of the welcome they received in the Middle East, the couple realized that American audiences needed to hear an alternative vision of the Middle East as much as ordinary Arabs needed to feel their solidarity. Since then, the couple has covered more than 60,000km and performed at over 200 presentations in universities, schools and churches across the US. Nonetheless, they still find themselves confronted with the suspicions of post-9/11 America: “We encounter fear first and then openness to the music. It used to be the other way around.” To learn more about their work and travels, visit their website, www.musicalmissions.com.

Not content with the power of performance, Powers and Sophia have set up a secular NGO, Musical Missions of Peace (www.musicalmissionsofpeace.org) which is based around the premise that “People who have learned and sung each others' popular love songs together are less likely to war with one another than those who have not. The NGO provides support to Iraqi musicians and refugees in exile in Jordan and Syria and promotes education and performance of international music in the US.

singinginstad

Cameron & Kristina Sang for 60,000 people in Cairo on October 17, 2003 to support fundraising for a new Children's Cancer Hospital.
They represented the compassionate heart of America and were the only non-Egyptian performers.

cairostadium

Audience in Cairo Stadium

 

Cameron and Kristina:
Two Americans...
--who have learned to perform popular Arabic Music...
Since the Fall of 2002 they have been on the road in the Arab-speaking world and in America ...
...so that Americans can see more clearly who the Arabic-speaking people really are...
...and so that Arabs can see that there are Americans who love Arab music and culture and who do not believe that war is the answer...
"Musical Missionaries" are "Missionaries in Reverse": They Travel to Learn, not to Teach

Cameron and Kristina have been back in Jordan and Syria setting up Musical Education Programs for displaced Iraqi Refugee Children

From 2002 to 2008 Cameron and Kristina carried their Musical Mission of Peace through Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, the West Bank and Egypt:
Four separate journeys through the Arab world.
They have presented the story of these travels more than 200 times throughout the USA. They can be contacted for additional multimedia or musical presentations.

They are planning to return again to Syria in 2010.

usmap

Recent Musical Missions in Arab-Speaking World:
Fall of 2002,
Spring of 2003, Fall of 2003, Winter of 2004 - 2005

Building a Bridge of Understanding
between America
and the Arab World

firdus

Cameron & Kristina singing in Baghdad:
note pedestal of fallen Saddam statue in background

World peace
exists right now!
Musicians Cameron and Kristina honor ancient civilizations by learning to perform their music.
Compassion
exists naturally
between all people
in the absence of fear. 

baghdad

Trading Arabic songs with people on the street in central Baghdad in April, 2003.
"We need to see more people like you!" they were told.

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traveltrailer

Cameron & Kristina's Home on the road in America:
"We lost our Travel Trailer to high winds on the Interstate in June of 2005. To meet continuing demand for our presentations we will now accept invitations from groups who would choose to fly us in."

usmap

Recent Musical Missions Across America where Cameron & Kristina have now driven more than 38,000 miles to give over a hundred and sixty presentations about the Arab-Speaking world:
Summer of 2003, Winter of 2004, Spring of 2004, Summer of 2004, Spring of 2005

Lonely Planet Cover

syria

Cameron & Kristina Sing in Palestinian Refugee Camp south of Damascus, Syria -- October, 2003

centralcairo

Kristina & Cameron singing in Central Cairo
in March, 2003

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