News / Europe

Russians, Americans Build Musical Bridges

Russians, Americans Build Musical Bridgesi
X
April 29, 2013 5:24 PM
In recent months, U.S.-Russian relations hit their lowest level since the end of the Soviet Union. Now, Americans and Russians are resorting to an old Cold War strategy: building bridges through music. James Brooke reports from Moscow.
James Brooke
In the early 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, the Yale Russian Chorus came to Moscow to break the ice between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Fast forward 50 years and Americans and Russians are once again using music to defrost the chill between their two countries.

The turn to culture comes as relations between the two nations have hit their low point since the end of the Soviet Union.

Mikhail Prokhorov is a leading Russian businessman and opposition politician. He owns the New York basketball team, the Brooklyn Nets. In late April, he brought the rap group IllStyle and Peace Productions from Philadelphia to Moscow.
 
“It is very difficult to maintain stable political relations,” Prokhorov said at a press conference. “That’s why I believe that culture, art and sport are the areas on which we should concentrate deeply, and do everything so that mutual trust and good relations between our people continue to develop.”

 
The American hip hip group is touring Moscow and Siberia as part of Transcultural Express, an exchange supported by the Mikhail Prokhorov Fund.
 
“A major cultural exchange between our countries will force our politicians to listen to one another better,” said Prokhorov, who ran for president of Russia last year.

“When people communicate directly, their general interests regarding culture, literature and fine art allows for the strengthening of relations.”
 
Karen Hopkins, president of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, helped to arrange the Russia tour.
 
“I think that the IllStyle troupe is going to be a huge success in Russia,” she said in Moscow. “They’re so talented, they’re so young, they’re so athletic, they’re so urban, they’re so American.”
 
A few days earlier, Irvin Mayfield and his New Orleans Jazz Orchestra played to a packed house in Spaso House, the residence of the United States Ambassador to Russia.
 
“It’s played an important role because the political relationship’s always been difficult, and was particularly difficult during Cold War times,” said U.S. Embassy public affairs counselor Jeffrey Sexon of the role of music.
 
“The United States government has traditionally invested a lot of money in cultural diplomacy in Russia,” he added. “And we’ve found it to be a very effective tool in communicating with Russians, precisely because they love culture so much themselves here.”
 
Indeed, The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra played in the same Spaso House ballroom where the Yale Russian Chorus enchanted Soviet audiences half a century ago.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid