Turnham Green to Zurich
Venice to Rome via Stockholm
Kampala, the Tender Talents Magnet school
Australia to Hong Kong
Taipei to China
Japan to Hong Kong (again)
David Juritz The original plan June 2007
Like many musicians, I’ve been really inspired by the work done by what, I suppose, one could call ‘grass-roots’ music projects. El Sistema in Venezuela is now a huge organisation with some 250 000 children participating. Buskaid in Soweto, South Africa, has transformed the lives of many children and the music school founded in Ramallah by Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when people set their differences aside to discover how much they have in common.
One thing that has always struck me is that the enjoyment of music is often completely independent of ones immediate circumstances. In short, the poor enjoy it just as much as the rich. And after all, most of the great composers lived lives their modern audiences would regard as impoverished yet this did not stop them composing great music. Performing music is a really life-affirming experience, an activity that can change the way people see themselves and, as importantly, are seen by others.
Think of the poorest people on the planet and one often finds oneself thinking in terms of aids and other infectious diseases, lack of education, infant mortality, drug addiction and crime. The person is lost to view behind a host of serious, highly-visible problems. Perhaps it’s inevitable that they become statistics defined by their needs rather than human beings. This is where music can play a part. To sing or play is to express one’s humanity just as, for the listener, hearing someone make music is an acknowledgement of them as equally human.
When looking at charities I could support on my trip I was surprised to discover that there isn’t an organisation offering assistance to people wanting to set up music workshops in poor areas. So that is why we’ve decided to create Musequality – to help those choirs, orchestras and bands get off the ground.
Luckily I’ve got some fantastically supportive friends, not to mention a wonderful wife who is not only letting me go on this trip, but who can also design logos, websites and letterheads. The Musicians Benevolent Fund has also been very helpful with advice and moral support.
So far we’ve made contact with all the embassies en route to find out what the visa and busking licence requirements are. We’ve also decided to register Musequality as a charity in its own right rather than keep it as a fund administered by another organisation as originally planned. I’m going to record some bits of solo Bach in the next couple of months. (I was supposed to be doing that in March, but the sessions for the soundtrack of the new Harry Potter film and paying my mortgage have meant a slight rescheduling).
We are alreadyin the process of setting up Musequality’s first project. More news on that as it happens.
For a biography and more information about David Juritz
Pic: David plays for a fan in Miami 29 Sept 2007