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RETHINK Folk Music
Start date: May 1, 2016, End date: Oct 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

SHORT SUMMARYA new project from Denmark aims to transform music school students into local music archaeologists. RETHINK Folk Music is part of the European Capital of Culture-Foundation Aarhus 2017, and is a collaboration between museums and music schools in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Latvia, Wroclaw 2016 in Poland and France.Folk music is alive and kicking, and among children and adolescents there is a growing interest in music based on traditions and our common roots. Spread out all over Europe you can find huge well-preserved national treasures of folk music notation material and stories, and it is this repertoire and these stories that are now being dusted off. The idea is to open the eyes of young people to their own cultural heritage and to use this material in a contemporary framework. The RETHINK Folk Music project will thereby use the cultural qualities inherent in folk music to reach the objectives of the Erasmus+ programme.As part of the ECoC in Aarhus 2017, which has been given the title RETHINK, the project intends to rethink and rewrite folk music using historical material from the participating partners from all over Europe in a modern context in order to present the students as European citizens and to raise awareness of each others cultural identity. Moreover folk music is brought out into museums and urban spaces to revitalize and embody a culture that many still have yet to experience up-close. "The traditional tunes and songs belong to all of us, but it's far from all of us who know how big a repertoire, we actually have. With RETHINK Folk Music students get help to dive into the archives and collections. The students will both play and arrange the melodies and songs they are going to find. This gives young people a sense of their own cultural heritage, it also gives museums an opportunity to communicate the elements of local history in a vivid way, "says Julie Heebøll Clausen, head of school at Skanderborg Culture School and project manager for RETHINK Folk Music.By investigating this field and digging up more or less hidden local melodies and styles, the students and their teachers will gain a clearer view on local music from their home region. This knowledge can easily be set to use in connection with concerts and other cultural expressions in the participating regions, which will offer deeper stories about their cities, and more typically about their suburbs and about the other small communities surrounding the larger towns in the regions. It is in these more rural regions, that a lot of the current folk music material can often be found. We expect to see how the energy of these somewhat “rural” forms of practices, and concrete musical feelings, grooves, rhythmical patterns can connect the ear to the body. This practice must be considered important for all students of music. By building the platform for working with the material and by arranging international trips and camps, RETHINK Folk Music will see both a lot of these master class workshops as well as students learning from other students under close advisory of expert musicians. We will see new arrangements of relevant historic melodies developed in the interaction between the students and their mentors, new ways of collaborating in the museum and music school cultural areas, development of new teaching methods, we have already begun the audience development and first and foremost we will see a lot of rewarding discussions and reflections about music, tradition, culture, identity in the geographical spectrum between local, national and European. This will give the students a deeper understanding of the broad cultural heritage and the musical and cultural history of the participating European countries. The project is based on the knowledge that knowing about your own culture helps you to understand and appritiate foreign cultures.RETHINK Folk Music is funded by the Aarhus 2017 Foundation and consists of a collaboration between museums and music and culture schools in Aarhus, Skanderborg, Silkeborg, Viborg, Holstebro and Struer municipalities. In 2016 and 2017 the project will incorporate music schools from Norway (Ås, Verdal and Hammerfest), Sweden (Umeå), Poland (Wroclaw), Latvia (Riga and Cesis), France (Britanny), etc. The goal is to give children and young people an understanding of the similarities and differences in European folk music – and thereby our common cultural heritage.The Erasmus+ key action for Youth Mobility is applied on behalf of 60 music school students with an interest in folk music from 6 countries travelling with 11 accompanying teachers to four main events in the RETHINK Folk Music project.
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