mmm-logo1Make Music Matter Announces Year Two of My Song for Change

My Song for Change national talent search announces year two;

Winner will record their song for change with Sam Roberts

TORONTO, Ontario, Canada, – February 17, 2014 – Make Music Matter announces the second round of their national talent search, My Song for Change, today.  In collaboration with Western Union, Make Music Matter will seek out youth 16+ nationwide to submit their song for a chance to be professionally recorded with Canadian musician Sam Roberts.  Building on Western Union’s heritage of connecting individuals around the world through a global network in more than 200 countries and territories, the sponsorship seeks to leverage the power of music to educate, connect, transform and enrich people’s lives.

Talent search participants will submit an original musical performance online at MySongForChange.com, focusing on the global issues they face in tandem with other people around the world.  An online voting system will determine the top ten finalists, and an expert panel will select the winner.  The winner will have his or her song, and accompanying video, produced at Metalworks Studios, along with Juno Award-winning Canadian rocker Sam Roberts and Grammy Award-winning producer David Bottrill.

“Creating music is not only a means of expression, it can be a powerful forum to convey the global nature of Canadian’s experiences, and their ties to every corner of the world,” said Joycelyn David, director of marketing, Western Union, Canada. “We are proud to be a part of My Song For Changeand bring important issues to life through the power of music.”

“I would love to hear what you have to say, what you’ve written, the music that you’ve made, and would be very, very happy and honoured to be a part of bringing it to life,” said Sam Roberts in a social media video promoting the contest.  “Make sure it will inspire, not just your generation, but all generations, to go out there and make a meaningful change in the world that we live in.”

“The ability of music to deliver a message that influences our society is something that I have witnessed time and time again,” said Darcy Ataman, founder and chief executive officer of Make Music Matter, the Canadian non-profit organization behind My Song for Change.  “We are pleased to work with Western Union for My Song for Change year two, and give Canadians the opportunity to use music to tell the stories that affect all of our lives each day.”

Submissions will be accepted on www.MySongForChange.com through June 1.  Online voting to name the finalists will take place between June 2 and July 25.  The expert panel of judges will convene to review the ten finalists and name a winner by August 15.  For more information on My Song for Change, please visit www.MySongForChange.com. Additional information can be found at www.facebook.com/MakeMusicMatter.org, www.twitter.com/mmm_org and www.makemusicmatter.org.

About Make Music Matter

Make Music Matter believes that by utilizing the transformative power of music we can influence people around the world to make more positive choices.  Positive choices today help to create a positive future for all.  Since 2007, Make Music Matter has used music to engage, educate and foster leadership in youth in communities affected by extreme poverty.  Working in some of the world’s most challenging environments, Make Music Matter’s on-the-ground efforts strive to enhance, enrich, and improve children’s lives in developing countries.  For more information, please visit www.makemusicmatter.org.

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For interviews or other media inquiries, please contact:

Ashley Smith

ashley@makemusicmatter.org

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mmm-logo1Make Music Matter annonce la deuxième édition du concours

Ma chanson pour le changement

Le concours national Ma chanson pour le changement revient pour une deuxième année,

                                        cette fois avec Sam Roberts comme invité d’honneur

TORONTO (Ontario), Canada, le 17 février 2014. – Make Music Matter a annoncé aujourd’hui la deuxième édition de son concours national de découverte de talents Ma chanson pour le changement. Organisé en collaboration avec Western Union, le concours s’adresse aux jeunes de 16 ans ou plus à l’échelle du pays et leur propose de soumettre une chanson pour courir la chance de l’enregistrer dans un studio professionnel avec le musicien canadien Sam Roberts. La commandite de Western Union vise à tirer parti du pouvoir transformateur de la musique pour éduquer les populations, favoriser la création de liens et enrichir la vie des gens. L’entreprise souhaite ainsi poursuivre sur la voie qu’elle a tracée par l’entremise de son réseau mondial maintenant implanté dans plus de 200 pays et territoires et qui permet aux gens de partout dans le monde de garder le contact avec leurs proches.

Les participants doivent s’inscrire sur mysongforchange.com/fr et soumettre en ligne une composition originale qui illustre les problèmes auxquels ils sont confrontés. Un système de vote électronique sera mis en place pour déterminer dix finalistes, qui seront ensuite évalués par un groupe d’experts chargés de sélectionner le gagnant. La chanson gagnante ainsi que le vidéoclip qui l’accompagnera seront produits dans les installations de Metalworks Studios en collaboration avec le rocker canadien lauréat d’un prix Juno Sam Roberts et le producteur lauréat d’un prix Grammy David Bottrill.

« La création musicale n’est pas seulement un moyen d’expression, c’est aussi une puissante tribune où les Canadiens peuvent souligner le caractère mondial de leur réalité et les liens qui les unissent au reste du monde », affirme Joycelyn David, directrice du marketing de Western Union Canada. « Nous sommes très fiers de prendre part au concours Ma chanson pour le changement et de contribuer à mettre en lumière certains enjeux importants grâce à la musique. »

« Je suis impatient d’entendre ce que vous avez à dire, ce que vous avez écrit ainsi que la musique que vous avez composée. Ce sera pour moi un très grand honneur de pouvoir contribuer à donner vie à votre création », affirme Sam Roberts dans une vidéo promotionnelle diffusée dans les médias sociaux. « Assurez-vous que votre message n’invite pas uniquement les jeunes de votre génération, mais bien l’ensemble de la population à poser des gestes concrets pour améliorer le monde dans lequel nous vivons.

« La musique permet de véhiculer des messages qui infuencent notre société, un phénomène que j’ai souvent pu observer », note Darcy Ataman, fondateur et directeur général de Make Music Matter, l’organisme canadien à but non lucratif à l’origine du concours. « Nous sommes ravis de pouvoir refaire équipe avec Western Union pour cette deuxième édition et très heureux d’offrir aux Canadiens l’occasion d’utiliser la musique pour raconter les enjeux qui influencent leur quotidien. »

Chaque personne qui souhaite participer doit s’inscrire sur le site www.mysongforchange.com/fr d’ici le 1er juin. Le vote en ligne qui servira à déterminer les finalistes aura lieu du 2 juin au 25 juillet. Le groupe d’experts se réunira ensuite pour évaluer les 10 finalistes et nommer le gagnant avant le 15 août.

Pour en savoir plus sur Ma chanson pour le changement, consultez le site www.mysongforchange.com/fr. Des renseignements supplémentaires sont également accessibles au www.facebook.com/MakeMusicMatter.org et au www.twitter.com/mmm_org et au www.makemusicmatter.org.

À propos de Make Music Matter

L’organisme Make Music Matter croit que la musique a le pouvoir d’exercer une influence positive sur les gens du monde entier et qu’il est possible grâce à elle d’encourager la population mondiale à faire de meilleurs choix. Les choix positifs que nous faisons aujourd’hui serviront à bâtir un lendemain meilleur pour chaque être humain. Depuis 2007, Make Music Matter utilise la musique comme outil de sensibilisation et d’éducation pour inspirer les jeunes vivant dans des milieux d’extrême pauvreté. Make Music Matter travaille dans certaines des communautés les plus démunies au monde, où elle déploie des efforts afin d’améliorer et d’enrichir la vie des enfants qui grandissent dans les pays en voie de développement. Pour obtenir de plus amples renseignements, consultez le www.makemusicmatter.org.

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Pour obtenir une entrevue ou pour toute autre demande liée aux médias, veuillez communiquer avec:

Ashley Smith

ashley@makemusicmatter.org

 

makemusicmatter-300x219

Make Music Matter announces release of My Song for Change winning song and video.

Toronto, ON (December 11, 2013) – After months of submissions, voting, recording and preparation, Make Music Matter is excited to announce the release of Little Dreamer by Trevor Kidd, the winner of My Song for Change. Kidd’s song was chosen out of 183 submissions from Canadian musicians coast to coast.

The contest was hosted by Make Music Matter Inc., a Canadian charity that focuses on using the transformative power of music to connect, heal and enrich lives. Sponsored by Western Union, the contest set out with the intention of using music as a tool to connect themselves with others Canada wide with the idea that a song can change the world.

“The ability of music to restitch the soul and deliver a message is something that as a music producer I witness time and time again. Trevor Kidd’s Little Dreamer is an important exemplar of that adage and I’m excited to have his song as the My Song for Change’s first official release.” said Darcy Ataman, Founder and CEO, Make Music Matter Inc.

Kidd’s song was professionally recorded at Metalworks Studios in Mississauga and produced with Cone McCaslin of Sum 41, Ian D’Sa and Aaron Solowoniuk of Billy Talent and Grammy award-winning producer David Bottrill.

“It was an incredible experience to have won My Song For Change and I am so grateful for all the new friendships I’ve built over the process,” said Kidd, “I feel more inspired than ever to keep moving forward with music after the time I spent at Metalworks Studios.”

After an online voting period, the top 10 finalists were judged based on lyrical creativity, melody, song structure and dynamics, and relevance to the contest’s theme by a qualified panel which included Darcy Ataman, Ian D’Sa, David Bottrill and Western Union’s Joycelyn David.

Below are links to the song/video:

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/little-dreamer-single/id775884657

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ma7ewGMRl2A

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/mysongforchange/little-dreamer

 

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About Make Music Matter

Make Music Matter believes that by utilizing the transformative power of music we can influence people around the world to make more positive choices. Positive choices today help to create a positive future for all. Since 2007, Make Music Matter has used music to engage, educate and foster leadership in youth in communities affected by extreme poverty. Working in some of the world’s most challenging environments, Make Music Matter’s on-the-ground efforts strive to enhance, enrich, and improve children’s lives in developing countries. For more information, please visit www.makemusicmater.org.

For more information and interviews please contact:
Ashley Smith | ashley@makemusicmater.org

By Jaime Cundy

Few people in this world would give up their own personal freedom and safety in order to help others. Fewer people would be able to do so in a country that is riddled with civil war and corruption. Fewer still would be able to do so with a smile, and a belief that things can and will get better.

Dr. Denis Mukwege does just that, each and every day at the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

DRCongo-map

The DRC is a country located in central Africa. It has been in a state of conflict since the second Congo war began in early 1998. Despite the signing of peace accords in 2003, fighting has continued, particularly in the east of the country. This war has been declared one of the world’s deadliest, with over 5.4 million people killed since 1998.

The fighting continues to this day, and is generally focused around the right to control the country’s vast mineral wealth. Despite having one of the lowest GDPs in the world, in terms of mineral wealth, the DRC is considered to be one of the world’s richest countries; it has approximately $24 trillion (USD) in untapped resources. Resources worth killing over. Most notably, the DRC has a rich supply of the mineral coltan (70% of the world’s supply), a mineral highly valued for use in the high-tech cell phone and computer industry.

The conflict in the DRC has resulted in the country being called ‘the worst place in the world to be a woman’. This is largely due to the high rates of sexually based violence and sexual assault being used as a weapon of war.

heal-live-hope

Panzi Hospital and its director Dr. Denis Mukwege have been operating on survivors of sexual violence for over a decade. One of only two doctors in the world who are qualified to perform the delicate reconstructive surgery, Dr. Mukwege has personally performed hundreds of thousands surgeries. For his work, and for his refusal to stay silent on the issue, Dr. Mukwege has been twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and was awarded the 2008 UN Human Rights Award.

The hospital is operating at full capacity and its borders continuously have to evolve. Once the women who are at the hospital are physically well, they often have no place to go. They are displaced and ostracized from their home communities… And so they stay at the hospital. To add to the already soul-crushing reality, many of these women become pregnant from the assault and these children also have no community to return to and live at the hospital.

mukwege-panzi

Despite the media attention and celebrity focus it has received over the past few years, Panzi Hospital is still facing a shortage of money, supplies, and resources to expand its base of qualified personnel.

Make Music Matter is in the process of setting up an innovative Music Enrichment Program as part of Panzi’s aftercare facility. After Dr. Mukwege has restitched them physically, Make Music Matter works to use music to restitch their souls.

While the story of the DRC and Panzi Hospital may on the surface appear to be all doom and gloom, there is another story that is just as prevalent. The women of Panzi are some of the most resilient, most hopeful people on the planet.  They want the world to know that they are not defined by what has happened to them, they are defined by their ability to come back from it.

Make Music Matter and Panzi Foundation USA have come together in support of Panzi Hospital for a night of music and inspiration. Dr. Mukwege will be speaking in Winnipeg for the first time at an event chaired by Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, on March 27, 2014. Details to come. Click here to read the press release.

Graffiti Art Programming is also partnering with Make Music Matter and Panzi Foundation USA by sponsoring an art exhibit that will be open from March 10th to April 10, 2014 at Graffiti Art Programming, 109 Higgins Ave, Winnipeg.

Change, Power, and Music
By Chris Hunter

Music and social change have been interwoven throughout history.

“For example,” said Scott Bergen, a graduate of musicology, the study of music, from Canadian Mennonite University, “Dmitri Shostakovich wrote politically subversive operas and symphonies in Stalinist Russia which undermined the all-powerful political leaders of the Soviet Union.”

Bergen is fascinated with the relationship between social situations and music. He contends that music allows individuals and groups to explore subjects and feelings which otherwise they could not.

“As a musician, I became interested in musicology because it allowed me to use the medium of music to explore more esoteric and inaccessible worlds,” he said. “I am very interested in the ways in which music speaks to social situations, especially how it offers ways to forge healthy relationships and create more just and equal social structures.”

Bergen leads a musically eclectic life. He’s performed as a pianist, singer, and trumpeter in countless ensembles. More recently, he’s curated a concert on John Cage, an American composer, where he lectured on the ways Cage’s music can “help us understand and navigate issues of peacemaking and international aid.”

In the last 30 years, Bergen notes, musicology has begun to recognize that music can profoundly influence social power structures.

“There are cultural theorists who study ways in which sub-Saharan African drum rhythms have shaped community life over the centuries,” he said. “We’ve begun to recognize the ways in which music speaks to these issues of power.”

Though the study of music and power is relatively contemporary, ruling bodies have, arguably, been aware of it for some time.

“Governments recognize the ability music has to mobilize people,” said Bergen. “After the second world war, one of the ways in which the West rebuilt Germany was to ban any sort of nationalistic music – even non-German nationalism – and instead promote the writing and performance of contemporary, western-styled music.”

Bergin went on to explain that all relationships and social structures maintain constant shifting, complex, and sometimes invisible currents of power. These currents are present in relationships between friends, but also on larger scales, between different social groups. Often times, it is difficult to understand and express these relationships. Sometimes, it’s even forbidden or considered taboo to discuss them.

According to Bergen, that’s where music comes in. Music offers a mode of expressing and understanding power struggles. “Franz Schubert used music to explore what it would look like for woman and the sexually different to have the upper hand in society.”

Schubert was an Austrian composer in the 19th century, when discussion and exploration of such issues would have been taboo. Music provided him with a channel to subvert these standards.

“Music helps us understand who we are, where we’ve come from, and how we can move forward as individuals and societies in just, equitable ways.”

 

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“Has the world forgotten about us?” These words from Fatima, a Darfuri rape survivor, still haunt me.

It was the summer of 2006 and I was collecting interviews as part of my research-based activism with 25 Darfuri genocide survivors at a refugee camp in Chad. In heat that a fellow researcher, who was collecting weather information, measured at 130 degrees, women waited for hours to share their horrific stories about attacks on their villages. I struggled hard to choke back tears as women spoke of rape and of their children who were killed by the Janjaweed paramilitary forces in Darfur, often before their eyes. That trip was a turning point for me.

I felt guilt at first, returning to a privileged, comfortable life in the U.S. as a professor at Penn State. The weight of the women’s sorrow and the need to “do something” about the genocide in Darfur was overwhelming—and paralyzing. My own reaction was baffling and new to me. I had never experienced such a loss for words and action in more than two decades of activism and organizing around social justice issues. I felt a tremendous responsibility to honor these survivors and act on their behalf, but how? As I immersed myself in the transcribed interviews, guilt gave way to the realization that my privilege could be a force for positive change.

“I was able to leave Chad,” I kept thinking. “These women face daily life in a refugee camp.” My inaction was now inexcusable.

I stepped up my role in the anti-genocide and Save Darfur movement, giving talks in living rooms, synagogues, high schools, church basements, and on college campuses. I received a Carl Wilkens Fellowship with the Genocide Intervention Network (now United to End Genocide) that helped expand my activist networks, opportunities, and knowledge about other crises, including rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was during this time that I came across the phrase “worst place in the world to be a woman” in reference to DRC. How could that possibly be, I wondered, given the horrific stories I had heard from the women in Chad? How could Congo be worse?

There should never be a contest over which conflict-ridden region has the most women with brutal tales. But it was clear that my work shouldn’t end in Chad. Still mulling over the provocative but problematic label of “worst place in the world to be a woman,” I realized I had to go to Congo.

The author holds an infant at Panzi Hospital. On her latest trip there, De Reus conducted focus groups to learn what survivors felt about the children they were giving birth to due to rape. De Reus says the mother of this particular 8-day-old was struggling to accept the baby; she does not appear in the photo to protect her identity for safety reasons.

by Lee Ann De Reus, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Human Development
& Family Studies and Women’s Studies
Assistant Executive Director/Co-founder, Panzi Foundation USA

To read the rest of the article, please click over to Women Under Siege

Lee Ann w baby 

By Brianne Hellrung

A forty-five minute drive east of Rwanda’s capital of Kigali, you will find yourself in Mwurire Sector, Rwamagana District, Eastern Province with its deep red soil, hills of banana trees, and many friendly faces. A short drive off of the main highway is the Uyisenga N’Manzi Peace Centre, a massive structure compared to the surrounding mud huts of community members. This building, which had provided the community with employment during construction, has now become an all-important centre in which the community can gather, celebrate, and learn together. This site will house the Make Music Matter Inc.’s first permanent Music Enrichment Program.

Make Music Matter in Rwanda

During the summer of 2012, this was my home and research base within the rural community. My research tried to answer several questions related to HIV/AIDS and music. Among them – what are the effects of HIV/AIDS on the community? And, what is the level of knowledge around HIV/AIDS?

Here is what I found:

  • 53% of those interviewed knew between 1 and 5 individuals infected by HIV.
  • 40% of youth interviewed found it difficult to talk about HIV/AIDS, mainly because of the taboo nature of the topic (because of its association with sexual intercourse) and for a fear of stigmatization and shunning.

Although there has been a major push towards halting and eradicating the spread of HIV since the start of the century (see Millennium Development Goal 6), HIV/AIDS continues to be a visible, tangible and troubling epidemic in Rwanda. A large majority of youth still believe that it is difficult to talk about HIV/AIDS with parents, in the community, and at school because of its taboo nature and simply because facts aren’t discussed. Rather, as identified by many interviewees, HIV/AIDS is talked about through rumours about someone’s status. This creates a situation in which it may be easy for someone unaffected by HIV to talk about it, but those who are affected or infected continue to feel discriminated against.

As well, the majority of those interviewed could identify unprotected sex as a method of transmission, while few could identify mother-to-child-transmission during pregnancy (8.1%) or mother-to-child-transmission through breastfeeding (1.8%). With little knowledge on the variety of ways to become infected, it also limits the range of knowledge on protection.

So, what can music do? After asking respondents a series of questions related to the importance of music, this is what I found:

  • Though not everyone may sing or play an instrument, every respondent indicated that they listen and like to listen to music when they had access to do so.
  • Music is predominantly seen as a tool to educate people and spread a message (62.4% believed so). When this message is positive, it can have a positive impact on a large audience.
  • 96.0% of students interviewed were very interested in participating in a future program that uses music to teach about social issues.

The concept of using music to teach youth about HIV/AIDS is one that encompasses Rwandan culture and tradition. There is music everywhere – from the moment you wake up to when you fall asleep, you hear music. From people singing while sowing the fields, to music playing over a meal, singing at the local church, or radios and cell phones playing the latest hit. Music has become a way of embracing past expression and searching for a way forward.

Music is a creative and open way of addressing subjects that may be taboo through a means that is more acceptable in society. Music is already seen as a way to educate and spread a message to a large audience and the Music Enrichment Program (MEP) sets out to do just that by engaging youth in the process of music creation and production, and through the dissemination of music in the community and on the radio.

The MEP has already garnered support among local leaders in the community, head masters at secondary schools, students, and parents. In Mwurire Sector, the lack of programming for youth outside of school was pointed out by a number of parents and local leaders as an area of concern and the MEP helps to fill that void.  After spending my summer in Rwanda, I can see just how powerful music can be to achieve positive change on an individual and societal level. I was able to learn about and experience the excitement that many youth hold at the opportunity to use their creativity to write, perform and produce music of their own – and to do so with the goal of educating their peers and contributing to a better future for the state of HIV/AIDS in Rwanda.

I believe that when youth are not only engaged in making positive changes in their lives and those of their peers, but are also able to do so in a creative and empowering manner, the opportunities for change are endless.