Music Around the World
Keys of Change believes that music can change the world. Since 2011 it has brought music to more than 10,000 people that are living in or have been through extraordinary circumstances in life. Whether it is a remote community in the Amazon, tsunami survivors in an emergency shelter in Japan, conflict survivors in Sierra Leone, poverty stricken communities in India or HIV affected children in Uganda, the universal message of music remains the same: to bring people together, to share an idea, to spark a positive change.
Bach in the Amazon
Keys of Change founding project was in the Amazon. The pioneering project Bach in the Amazon started in March 2011, continued in November of the same year, a repeat visits in May 2012 and October 2017, with Greek pianist Panos Karan and his team travelling to remote villages in Ecuador and Peru and performing classical music for indigenous communities. The project is planned to continue in Brazil, having navigated the entire length of the river, aiming to reach in total 88 communities, a symbolic number after the number of keys on a piano.
Fukushima. A Journey of Hope.
Keys of Change visited Japan for the first time in August 2011, six months after the extraordinary natural disaster which resulted in more than 18,000 casualties and left more than one million homeless. During that first project pianist Panos Karan presented 11 recitals for people living in emergency shelters and temporary housing, as well as schools in the prefectures of Fukushima and Miyage. Keys of Change returned to Japan in the coming months, in March 2012, October 2012 and March 2013, to remind survivors that the world has not forgotten, once again using the power of music to give hope and encouragement.
Sierra Leone. The Road to Recovery.
Keys of Change first came to Sierra Leone to share music in 2012 expecting to find stories of war, suffering and survival, yet these stories of the past that unite the people in this African nation, are not the ones that define them in the present. Classical music, although unknown and new, is felt in Sierra Leone by the heart. It inspires and is expressed astonishingly through movement. In 2013 pianist Panos Karan returned to Sierra Leone for performances in schools, slum communities, school of the blind, amputee groups, children’s hospital, HIV+ positive group, amputee groups and many others. Between 2012-13 Keys of Change sponsored a children brass band in Freetown. Following the deadly Ebola outbreak, and the the catastrophic consequences it had for everyone in Sierra Leone, we are currently looking to establish a continuous music education programme.
Uganda. Music Positive.
Keys of Change arrived in Uganda in August 2012 to share music with children and young people in the capital Kampala and surrounding areas. While the audiences mostly consisted of children heavily affected by HIV epidemics, we were surprised to find that this generation of young Ugandans radiate with genuine smiles and happy rhythms. They were as excited to share Ugandan songs, dances and hospitality with us as we were eager to play classical music for them. In 2013 Keys of Change provided traditional Ugandan instruments and sponsored music classes for 20 students, which have affected by the recent HIV epidemics.
Siberia. Audience of One.
In 2014 Keys of Change went a musical journey across Russia. Pianist Panos Karan spent ten days travelling 9288km across Siberia, from Moscow to Vladivostok. With stops at Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk and Vladivostok, Panos performed for several orphanages and hospitals along the way, sharing vividly the message that music brings people together, from Greece, to the heart of Siberian winter. In the ICU of one of the hospitals we met Galina. After the first piece she whispered: "Please play a bit more" and after the second work of music, with tears in her eyes she said, "I could listen to this music all day!" The musical visit lasted almost an hour, as this audience of one was actively listening and absorbing what this private recital was all about: communication, strength and hope.
Keys of Change arrived in India in 2013, with repeated visits in 2014 and 2016. Our musicians took part in musical activities for people living in extreme poverty in and around Kolkata, putting together performances in a variety of locations, including slum communities, orphanages, music schools, hospitals and home for the elderly, reaching out to an audience of more than 2,500 people. The main purpose of these visits was to reach out to as many children and young people as possible living in difficult conditions, perform music for them, and use music as a tool of communication and positive interaction. Return projects have been scheduled in the near future. We are particularly proud to have included for the first time in a project local musicians, that played music for their own community, committed to continue teaching music in the months to come, creating sustainable musical possibilities within the community.
Xanthi. Minority Notes.
Starting in January 2014 Keys of Change has been travelling to North Greece, in the municipality of Xanthi, to work with students of minority schools. The schools visited are elementary minority schools, with a focus on Tukish speaking Roma population of the area. Most of the children in this part of Greece are living in extremely difficult conditions, resulting from poverty, while family problems include abuse and violence. The students were encouraged to work as a group to produce rhythms and learn songs, which they had to present the next day in front of the whole school. This is an invitation to use music as a powerful tool of to brighten up lives, and to learn about collaboration, leadership and team work.