International musicians join together in Oxford for cultural exchange celebration

Published: Wednesday, 25th July 2018

More than 30 musicians from over 20 countries have come together in Oxford to celebrate cultural exchange through workshops and creative collaborations.

The week-long music programme, which took place last month (June) and is known as Ethno England, saw folk musicians aged 19 to 30 from across the world visit Oxford schools and hold live performances to promote the universal language of music as a way of breaking down cultural barriers.

It included musicians from Oxford’s own twinned cities of Leiden in Holland and Perm in Russia, as well as instrumentalists from India, Zimbabwe, Iraq, Estonia, Germany and many more.

As part of the programme participants taught each other a piece of music from their own traditional culture and created an ensemble that was performed in Bonn Square on 20 June and at Tandem Festival on 22 June. The piece was performed subsequently as part of a small tour in Wales, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

The musicians also provided workshops for 80 schoolchildren from Rose Hill Primary, which took place at Magdalen College School on 25 June.

Ethno England was organised by Oxford City Council’s international links officer in partnership with the Tandem Collective, a not-for-profit community interest company that empowers audiences to tackle environmental and social issues through music and the arts.

There are multiple Ethno events held yearly, with programmes operating in Germany, Brazil, and Australia amongst others.

Founded by Jenuesses Musicales International, the largest youth music NGO in the world, Ethno is aimed at young musicians aged 13 – 30 with a mission to revive and keep alive global cultural heritage amongst youth.

Oxford’s international links give citizens the chance to engage with other cultures and ways of life. Leiden has been twinned with Oxford since the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. Perm has been linked to Oxford since 1990, and was officially twinned in 1995.

Councillor Mary Clarkson, Board Member for Culture and the City Centre, said: ““Ethno England is a wonderful example of the cultural exchange happening within Oxford throughout the year. We very much look forward to future collaborations between our City and the rest of the world’.