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Musicians Promote Peace and Cultural Understanding


Musicians from all over the world are putting their differences aside to spread a message of peace to audiences in the Middle East, Europe and the United States. VOA's Shally Zomorodi reports the "Roads to You: Celebration of One World" tour is about more than just music; it is about cultural understanding and friendship.

Look closely at the faces. Yes, they are young musicians armed with a powerful tool. But if you look closer you may notice that each of these musicians looks different. Some are American, some Korean, some Israeli and others are Arab. People with a history of conflict and war but today there is no fighting, instead these musicians have come in peace.

Band creator Zade Dirani says, "Our message is that we are all the same regardless of where we come from and what religion we follow. What we want out of life is the same and through music we can deconstruct the barriers and begin a dialogue. It is such a wonderful icebreaker, with music you get people talking, and God willing, we want to help. I am not saying we are going to change people but at least help people get to know each other and create friendships."

Friendships that 24-year-old Jordanian pianist Zade Dirani knows much about. Dirani has performed around the world. He began to see how powerful his music was and how he could speak to anyone with no language barriers just by stroking the keys on the piano. That experience inspired his "Roads to You" tour, concerts featuring over 40 musicians from different parts of the world, playing for peace.

Jacob Hertzog plays guitar and tells us about the goals of the group. "The goal is to use music to spread the message of cultural understanding. And there are a number of different ways we can do it. You can get a lot of people in the room who don't have a history of good relations with each other and use music as the force that brings them there. And you use it as a reason to reach out and every culture has some form of music, and that's one of the few universal languages we can unite behind."

A language they all speak. Musician Sofia Gonzalez says "Roads to You" is much more than just a concert. It is about putting differences aside and working together for a great cause. "It is about bringing people together from all over the world to get together to understand each other musically and grow as a musician. You meet people from all places and you can learn so much stuff and this way we can connect all religions and cultures together."

Cellist Xiaodan Zheng agrees. "I do not know if it will teach people a specific idea but we are hoping to change their mind and to recognize when you have everything that's so different and yet when you put it together and make the same music and it is wonderful and we should celebrate every single culture in its own unique way."

And with the language and power of music, the musicians are not only able to keep their cultures alive, they also show the world the power of peace, respect and acceptance.