Can Music and Art Bring Countries Together?

Jan 20, 2014

Credit Nic McPhee/flickr creative commons

Today's show originally aired October 29, 2013. 

From Faith Middleton: Music and art can make your life bigger. And, under the theory that the world is now “flat,” music and art just might dissolve boundaries, making the world a more manageable place.

Connecticut's Frank Penna, with financing from the World Bank, reduced poverty in the country of Senegal by helping musicians there to develop their sector of the economy. And now he aims to work with the World Bank to use music and film to enrich the democratic culture of people in Africa's conflict-ridden Democratic Republic of Congo. Music, film, and art, he says, can change culture and institutions away from violence and corruption.

In Senegal, some of Penna's team even convinced the country's legislature to rewrite all bills for copyright laws protecting local musicians from being duped into low-paying music contracts, bolstering Senegal's diverse art scene and homegrown musical entrepreneurs. Now Penna sees tremendous possibilities for the Congo, despite a war there that has lasted ten years.

Learn how Penna learned of the power of cultural connection, how his project was funded, and what his plans are for his next life-changing project in the Congo.

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