Connecting Diversity Through Music

09 September 2020

Of all the things that the Covid-19 pandemic has temporarily cancelled, the experience of live music has been one of the most culturally shocking and thought-provoking absences in the 2020 calendar.

While nothing can replace the exhilaration of dancing at a live concert, the new normal has also opened up new musical opportunities. Where flying musicians around the world on tour was logistically complicated and financially challenging, the blossoming online concert scene allows us to unite people from all over the world, shortening distances through the power of music. And that’s where Connecting Diversity comes in.

Connecting Diversity is a project by Diversity and Development that links artists and cultures from around the world, giving everyone the chance to connect with sounds and people worldwide, simultaneously. In this era of lockdowns and restrictions, it’s a chance to visit other countries and experience other cultures from the safety and comfort of your own home.

To get a fuller picture of the projects motivations and objectives, we spoke to the organizers, Raquel Maestro Salmoral, project coordinator of Connecting Diversity and Guillén Calvo President of Diversity & Development .

How did this project start?

The current situation has made it clear: We live in an interconnected world and we need each other more than everIn this constantly changing world, we need to join forces and face challenges in a global manner, united in our diversity.

​It’s time to defend and promote our diversity in all its different expressions. The homogenization of our ways of producing, consuming and even thinking, increases the risks that our societies face. Biological and cultural diversity are inextricably linked, and these are the best resources we have to face the challenges we’re dealing with, and to build more inclusive, creative and resilient societies.

Seven Doors, from Morocco, are one of the groups that will be performing at the concert. Photo: Connecting Diversity / HDASRI

We need to find new ways of connecting diversity and establish new modes of interaction between communities. Music reflects something profound about who we are and our experience of the world; it’s a powerful vehicle to share emotions and spread messages. That’s why we started Connecting Diversity!

Did you guys have much experience with promoting real musical events before 2020? To what extent is this project “a child of the year 2020”?

At Diversity and Development we have been organizing international events for over 10 years to promote biocultural diversity. However, Connecting Diversity is a new initiative that was born during months of quarantine. Everything that was happening led us to rethink our work; we felt we needed to organize a new category of events with music as a central element.

What advantages does holding a concert online have?

This initiative allows people to enjoy music no matter their social status, their language, their country of residence or personal situation. Everyone can take part in this intercultural journey, and that’s our main goal: connect people from all over the world to share, travel, enjoy and live diversity in all its different expressions.

The initiative aims to be a space for meeting and exchange, where all participants can interact with each other.

Yodi from France, another group performing at Connecting Diversity. Photo: Connecting Diversity / Yodi

What are your goals for Connecting Diversity?

We think that mixing cultures, territories and ideas is the best way to continue building more sustainable, resilient and creative communities. We want to create synergies between artists and promote the positive transformation of their communities. And Connecting Diversity won’t be a one-off event. The journey continues! As we take the next steps on this journey we’ll be guided by these main objectives:

  • Promote responsible forms of production and consumption
  • Respect and conserve the environment, biodiversity and local resources
  • Provide new digital experiences with strong community content
  • Communicate the importance of diversity for sustainability
  • Advocate for new forms of local and global collaboration

Who are the musicians that you have selected for the concert on October 10?

We have Safara from the Colombian Pacific, Yodi from the Landes in France, Seven Doors from the Rif Mountains in Morocco and Armonía Mestiza from the Chiloé Archipelago in Chile. They are all artists that we invited to be part of this project because we feel that we, and they, have many things in common.

Armonía Mestiza from Chile are also performing live. Photo: Connecting Diversity / Armonía Mestiza

In preparation for the concert we have shared each artist’s music with all the others; it was great to see the enthusiasm they all had—friendships created instantly over long distance! We hope will be able to bring them all together in the same place one day, and share their beautiful creative energy with a live audience.

Why have you decided to make this part of Terra Madre?

I have been participating in Terra Madre since 2006 and have always loved the special energy that you feel during those days.

Participating in Terra Madre is a different way to feel, enjoy, connect and learn about diversity: Tasting unique products, talking to inspiring people while celebrating and sharing knowledge in a different manner. Terra Madre is a place where you can feel the concept of unity in diversity and that is very strong.

Safara of Colombia, performing live at Connecting Diversity. Photo: Connecting Diversity / Safara

Through the Biocultural Diversity and Territories platform and the Origin, Diversity and Territories Forum we have been collaborating with Slow Food for many years and co-organizing events during Terra Madre. When we thought of organizing the first edition of Connecting Diversity, we decided it would be best to partner with a larger event: Terra Madre was an obvious choice.

As an anecdote, when Guillén took part in his first Terra Madre, he came as a young representative of the international institution I was working for at that time. “I happened to meet Carlo Petrini, and when I told him what I was doing and what I wanted to do with Slow Food, he said organizations like mine were missing something important. They lacked passion! So now, almost 15 years later, it’s an honor and a pleasure to think that through Connecting Diversity we are organizing one of the most passionate and energetic events in the Terra Madre 2020 program.”

Come and join us on an intercultural journey with Connecting Diversity, wherever you are, from 8pm (Rome time) on October 10. In the meantime, Connecting Diversity are raising funds for their project through a crowdfunding campaign to support the artists and make sure this isn’t just a one-off but the beginning of a long term project to unify the world through music.

by Jack Coulton,