Cameron Powers -- Biography
Cameron's musical and linguistic careers recently led him to stand in solidarity with the people of Iraq by sharing Iraqi love songs on the streets of Baghdad in 2003. His lifelong musical adventures with Latin American and Middle Eastern peoples have culminated in a series of recent concerts and multi-media presentations designed to promote peace. High points of these adventures included performing in the Cairo stadium before an audience of 60,000 Egyptians to help raise funds for a new Children's Cancer Hospital.
Fascination with Peruvian Indian peoples encountered on mountaineering expeditions led Cameron to spend 8 years going to and from Andean villages back in the 1960’s and 70’s. He immediately discovered the value of learning to play their music with them as an easy aid to bonding in trust and friendship.
Cameron graduated with BA in Anthropology and Linguistics, University of Colorado, Boulder, with an emphasis on the study of Quechua, the language of the Incas.
Cameron also received a fellowship to attend a two-month intensive immersion program in the Inca language at Cornell University.
Cameron also received a scholarship to work on a Doctoral program in Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. He continued to study the Inca language and began studies of the Tibetan language.
The warmth of his musically-oriented “extended family” in Peru served to draw him away from an academic career toward a performing musical career. It was there in Peru that he began to realize the value of being a musician as well as a linguist.
In 1973 Cameron lived in Greece with the Papanastassiou family and studied Greek language and Greek music.
Returning to Boulder, Colorado, Cameron performed Greek music and began the study of Arabic music with various local bands: "The Silk Route," "The Boulder Bouzouki Band," "Solspice," and "Sherefe."
He created Musical Instruments, Houses, Spanish Language Teaching Programs in Boulder while raising his children.
Cameron has a long association, since 1986, with Middle Eastern Music Camp which takes place every summer in Mendocino, California. He has studied with Nasser Musa, George Lammam, Haig Manoukian, Faruk Tekbilek, Nabil Azzam, and many others. He has studied with Simon Shaheen at Arabic Music Retreat in Mt. Holyoke, Mass. And he has studied with numerous musicians whom he has met on travels in Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon and Morocco.
After the events in New York on 9/11, a pall was cast on his role as an American playing Middle Eastern Music. “Terrorism” had somehow entered the music. Gigs were cancelled; people became nervous about producing Middle Eastern Music-oriented shows.
Knowing full well from his travels in the Middle East and from his extensive chain of friendships with Middle Eastern musicians that there is a warm reception available to anyone, including Americans, who wish to travel the Middle East, he realized the importance of continuing his "musical missions."
Now back from multiple trips to Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine, he and his partner, Kristina, have been busy traveling in the US and helping people better understand the Middle Eastern, Arabic, psyche. Well over 200 musical and multi-media presentations have recently been completed in more than half of the American states. Funding to help support refugee Iraqi musicians preserve Iraqi musical culture by passing it on to Iraqi children has passed through the non-profit organization, Musical Missions of Peace, which was designed and built around Cameron and Kristina's work.