OneBeat Musicians

Musicians from 17 countries honored black migration with OneBeat music tour

By Wen-Yee Lee

To honor the 100-year anniversary of the Great Migration of African Americans to northern states, OneBeat followed the migration route, touring from New Orleans through Chattanooga to Chicago to present the world music they created.

Every year, thousands of musicians apply for the 25 spots on OneBeat that represented 17 countries this year. Themes for the performances change each year, with this year devoted to musical migration.

“We also take care to have representation from different regions, representation from different backgrounds,” said Elena Park, OneBeat Director, “The premise of the project is music-based cultural diplomacy.”

Collaborating with a New York-based music organization called Found Sound Nation, OneBeat is an initiative of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Since 2012, more than 100 musicians from 38 countries have been joined this project.

Photo at top: OneBeat performance features a world tour of music at the Old Town School of Folk Music in October.  (Wen-Yee Lee/MEDILL)