Young Tunisian musicians Houyem Ghattas and Iskander Dridi joined 23 musical change makers from across the world to take part in take part inOneBeat, one of the U.S. Department of State’s musical diplomacy programs. This year, OneBeat focuses on Musical Migrations, exploring how large movements of people have shaped music, and conversely, how music can encourage dialogue, peace keeping, and community resilience in situations of displacement and upheaval.
Houyem is a Tunis-based vocalist and violin player. Iskander hails from Djerba and plays numerous traditional wind instruments including ney, kawala, trumpet, and clarinet. Both are currently in the United States for one month of performances, workshops, discussions, and interactive music-making events.
Houyem and Iskander are learning how music can create an international network of change makers who impact their local communities. Through this unique artistic and cross-cultural endeavor, they will have the chance to trace the route of the Great Migration, honoring the global impact of African-American music by connecting with musical communities in the birthplace of Jazz (New Orleans), the home of Bessie Smith (Chattanooga), and the sweet home of blues, electronic music, and hip hop (Chicago).
Best of luck, Houyem and Iskander!