Music Diplomacy: Artists From Ethiopia Among Eligible to Apply for US Exchange Program ‘OneBeat’

International music exchange platform OneBeat [sponsored by the U.S. State Department] is calling on artists to apply for its 2021 virtual cross-cultural collaborative program. (Photo:

Music in Africa

Call for applications: 2021 OneBeat virtual exchange program in the US

The program is sponsored by the US State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and produced by Bang on a Can’s Found Sound Nation. It celebrates musical collaboration and social engagement.

This year’s virtual edition is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fellows will receive a $1 500 honorarium as well as a small subsidy for purchasing necessary audio equipment and enhanced internet connectivity tools.

OneBeat is looking for applicants who excel in the following areas:

  • Musical proficiency and innovation.
  • Performance, composition, improvisational, production and/or technological skill.
  • Social engagement – musicians who have used music to serve their communities or greater societies. This might consist of guiding young people in music education, addressing social-political issues, reviving dying musical traditions, etc.
  • Collaboration – applicants’ willingness to reach across cultural and musical divides in creating original music or re-interpreting traditional music, while respecting the essence of each tradition.

    OneBeat will convene 70 musicians (aged from 19 to 35) from up to 44 countries and territories in two separate virtual exchanges, which will take place as follows: 12 July to 6 September and 20 September to 17 November.

    Musicians from the following African countries are eligible to apply:

  • Algeria
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • Madagascar
  • Mali
  • Morocco
  • Nigeria
  • Senegal
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Tunisia
  • Zimbabwe

    Read more about eligibility here. Interested artists can apply here. Successful applicants will be notified by 21 May.

    The submission deadline is 10 March.

    “These projects will address a particular community and focus on community engagement,” OneBeat said. “We encourage the development of projects that explore innovations within a particular field of arts engagement, digital media or technology.”

    Each program will offer a virtual residency and exchange program with musicians from around the globe. OneBeat virtual fellows will investigate new forms of virtual collaboration, form ensembles, produce and perform genre-defying work, attend virtual masterclasses, lead online workshops and produce a streaming concert for the public. Fellows will also have the opportunity to pursue self-directed projects during the fellowship.

    View the original call here.

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