Trip Recap

Extreme heat and humidity, rainstorms and flooding, and several political strikes could not stop our musicians in Kinshasa from coming together to work with Kaori during our ninth trip to Congo in November and December. In fact, the musicians were more engaged than ever before, showing up to rehearse in the heaviest rain. “They never complained, and they all made so much progress individually,” Kaori said.

One of the many highlights of the trip was the incredible strides made by the women of our All-Female Chamber Ensemble. Kaori could tell from the first rehearsal that the women had been practicing with dedication in the months since our last trip. In addition to workshops with Kaori, the ensemble had the opportunity to perform at a school for young mothers (ages 12–17) and homeless teenagers. Many of the young women were skeptical at first, but as soon as the ensemble started performing, they began to open up. After the concert, the young women shared some of their stories, and members of the ensemble shared their own stories and told the young women to keep working hard, and to try and find passion and meaning in life. Kaori said that it was incredibly moving to witness the ensemble members—who were themselves skeptical of the transformative power of music just a year ago—stepping up to encourage fellow Congolese women.

“My heart was absolutely crushed … I didn’t know exactly what we could do for the young women at the school. But I witnessed how every single young woman and her children opened up minute by minute as they interacted with the women I teach. I also witnessed how the women stepped up to share their life experiences, stories, and words of wisdom so passionately. This might have been the most meaningful result of our hard work with Music Beyond so far!” We look forward to what 2018 has in store both musically and personally for the members of our All-Female Chamber Ensemble.

After prolonged goodbyes in Kinshasa, Kaori flew to Lubumbashi to assist Malaika School—a school for girls who live in underserved communities in the outskirts of the city—in strengthening their music program. Kaori was blown away by the enthusiasm and dedication of the teachers and staff. Her visit included hours of discussions about improving the music program, as well as the opportunity to sit in on a class, teach some of the students, and perform both for them and with them. We are so grateful to Noella Coursaris, the founder of Malaika, for making this meaningful visit possible, and look forward to future collaboration.

Our time in Congo concluded with a concert at the Japanese Embassy, where our musicians had the opportunity to perform in front of more than 300 guests. We also had the opportunity to perform at a local elementary school for more than 600 children. The joy in the students’ faces was priceless! Another highlight of the trip was having filmmaker Jessica Jane Hart and Tarek Fouda along for the ride with us. Jessica and Tarek are in the process of working on a documentary film about Music Beyond, which we couldn’t be more excited for. Stay tuned for more about the film, as well as an interview with Jessica on the blog in the coming months. Reflecting on our ninth trip, Kaori is “more convinced than ever that we can help bring a brighter future to Congo and beyond!” 


Join the music education movement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by becoming a Friend of Music Beyond.  



 極度な高気温と湿度、豪雨と洪水、それに数回の国中挙げての反政府 デモ・・、こんな状況でも9回目となるワークショップとキンシャサの音楽家を切り離すことはありませんでした。切り離すどころか、音楽家たちは今までにも増して更に熱心に、大変な大雨で街中洪水でも、どうにか練習に参加したのです。「一つも不平不満を言うことなく、全員また大きく成長してくれたことを誇りに思う。」と語るのは代表藤井香織。 


「 若すぎる母親とホームレスの女の子たちを見て心が押し潰された・・。そして彼女たちのために私たちに一体何ができるのか不安になった。でも音楽を聴いて、その後私が教える音楽家と会話をしながら、全員どんどん心を開いていく姿を目の当たりにし、女性音楽家たちが自ら自分の人生経験を語り、情熱的に学生を勇気付ける姿も目の当たりにして、音楽の持つ力とMusic Beyondの意味に再び気付かされた。まさに、これまでの苦労続きの活動が実を結んだ瞬間だった!」



今回の旅はこれ以外にも、天皇誕生日を祝う日本大使公邸での大きなイベントで、300人を超えるお客さま の前での演奏、キンシャサの小学校にて、600人の大興奮する子供たちのためのコンサートなど、イベントが目白押しでした。また、映画製作者のジェシカ・ジェーン・ハートとタレク・ファウダがアメリカより旅に参加、現在Music Beyondの短編ドキュメンタリー映画を作成中。映画のアップデートに加え、ジェシカ・ジェーン・ハートさんのインタビューもお楽しみに!

この9回目の旅を振り返って藤井香織は「Music Beyondはコンゴをはじめ世界に明るい将来をもたらすお手伝いができる!と確信した旅だった。」と語っていました。


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