Music In Africa Connects for musicians from conflict and crisis regions in Africa

Musicians pursuing their art in crisis and conflict regions are often putting their lives on the line.
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MIAConnects specifically supports musicians from Chad, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan.
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To increase mobility, MIAConnects provides musicians with help in putting on local, regional, or international concerts and tours.
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It is often in countries in crisis and conflict where people really need help in making their own voices heard. Unfortunately, in such regions, musicians expressing themselves through art do so at great risk. To provide direct support to these artists by pulling them out of isolation and connecting them to the wider world, the Music In Africa Foundation and Siemens Stiftung created Music In Africa Connects (MIAConnects) with help from the German Federal Foreign Office.

Two-year special project

Over the course of two years (2017 and 2018), musicians from Chad, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, Susan, and South Sudan received support.

Main goals of MIAConnects

  • Connect professional musicians locally and across borders
  • Increase awareness of music from these countries and boost the creative potential of national music industries
  • Produce marketable musical works and forge relevant ties to the diaspora
  • Encourage an exchange of information between music sectors
  • Create long-lasting local structures (such as associations or networks)

Focus of activities

  • Education & training
  • Talent development
  • Financial support for local, regional, and global performances
  • Cultural exchange
  • Research into each country’s music sector
  • Publishing relevant information on each music sector

»We have to decide: Do we want music as a form of expression of our humanity to survive, or are we going to watch as it is violently eliminated?«

Jama Musse Jama, Red Sea Cultural Foundation, Hargeisa Tweet

What was achieved?

Within two years, the music scenes in each country saw significant growth that included the creation of important networks:

  • 17 artists/bands received support to travel within their countries and perform in front of a large audience
  • 12 artists/bands performed at larger African festivals
  • 275 music professionals took part in workshops on instrument instruction, performance, music history, production, or audio engineering
  • A total of 108 articles on the music scenes of the focus countries were produced, these are available on the Music In Africa online platform

Participating organizations included: Red Sea Cultural Foundation, Yalla! Khartoum, Planet Heart Foundation, Fondation Festival sur le Niger, RECAF.

“The easiest way to connect people is through music.”

The short documentary film, “The Power of Music in Sudan” shows quite clearly what an MIAConnects workshop can mean to one of the participating musicians.