Nairobi News


US Embassy announces exchange programme for Kenyan musicians

By Winnie Mabel September 14th, 2023 2 min read

The United State of America’s Embassy in Nairobi welcomed applications from Kenyan musicians aged between 19 and 35 for the 1 beat 13&14 music exchange programme. The deadline for submitting applications is September 15, 2023 at 11:59pm EDT.

The exchange programme is an initiative of the US State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs in collaboration with New York based music organization Bang on a Can’s Found Sound Nation.

Applicants are expected to write about their musical background and interests as well as future projects and goals. Applicants will also be asked to submit 3-5 samples of their solo and collaborative work (both audio and video are accepted).

The review criteria will be along the lines of musical excellence, collaboration, social engagement, age, English proficiency, country of origin and internet proficiency.

“Musicians from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply, with or without formal musical training. We welcome music of all genres, including but not limited to: traditional/folk, hip hop, experimental, electronic, jazz, classical, sound design, beat-making, multimedia art, or any combination of these styles. In addition to full-time professional musicians, we also invite adventurous musicians who double as community organizers, instrument builders, writers, videographers, musicologists, educators, storytellers, dancers, shadow-puppeteers, and more,” OneBeat said in regards to applicants’ eligibility.

OneBeat 13 & 14 will take place in spring 2024 & fall 2024; and applicants will be notified of the review panel decision by December 31, 2023.

“OneBeat is a music exchange and incubator for music-based social entrepreneurship, where innovative musicians from around the world launch collaborative projects designed to make a positive impact on local and global communities. OneBeat employs collaborative original music as a potent new form of cultural diplomacy,” reads the statement on OneBeat’s official website.

OneBeat claims to be the gathering place for 21st century musical leaders. The initiative began as an annual America-based residency and tour program that brought musicians together from across the world to collaborate on music writing, production and performance as well as develop strategies for arts-based civic and social engagement.

“OneBeat provides a chance for musicians and artists from an incredible diversity of backgrounds to seek common ground, create new musical combinations, push the boundaries of music technology, and find ways to involve all members of society in the process of musical creativity. Produced and designed by the NYC-based arts organization Found Sound Nation, OneBeat endeavors to be the nexus of a new way of thinking about how music and artistic expression can help us collectively build healthier communities, prosperous societies, and a more peaceful world,” OneBeat further explained.

So far, OneBeat has worked with over 493 artistes from 68 countries and to the US Embassy’s announcement, a section of Kenyans already tagged and proposed the names of musicians they hoped would apply for the exchange programme. They included Boniface Kilundeezy, Depo Dice and Bueno.