The Music against Child Labour Initiative, established last year and launched on 11 June 2013 on the eve World Day by the late Maestro Claudio Abbado, is growing in strength.
The Initiative was co-founded by Maestro Abbado, the ILO Director General, other renowned musicians including Daniel Barenboim and José-Antonio Abreu, and major musicians’ bodies including the International Musicians’ Federation (FIM) and Jeunesses Musicales International (JMI). All musicians are asked to dedicate at least one concert of their repertoire to send the message that child labour should not be tolerated and that good music education is a proven way to empower children, to attract them to school and to keep them there.
The Heliopolis Youth Orchestra began the concert series in October 2013 at the III Global Child Labour Conference in Brasilia, in the presence of President Dilma Rousseff. The call to take part was reinforced in February by a resolution of the International Orchestral Conference of the FIM. It will be further strengthened by a dedicated Initiative website hosted by JMI which will go live on World Day 2014.Musicians of all types have been composing new music against child labour. In 2013, famous popular artists in Côte d’Ivoire formed a Choeur pour l’abolition du travail des enfants, combining elements of hip-hop, reggae and highlife in two fusion music videos and touring the country with their concerts. Young musicians from Italy wrote a song “Today”, which they hope activists in the Initiative will translate and sing in their own language to create a global version. In the UK, Vartan Melkonian, composer, conductor and former Beirut street child, will dedicate his new Water Symphony, a symphonic poem reflecting his experiences as an adolescent seafarer. In addition, in Italy, the Ministry of Education awarded prizes for the national schools video competition for the Initiative.
For World Day itself, Incubus guitarist Mike Einziger and violinist Anne-Marie Simpson wrote and recorded with Pharrell Williams and other artists a song and video “’Til everyone can see”.
Daniel Beaume and the children of the Ecole Gabriel Péri in France – pursuing the music education purpose of the Initiative - composed a new song “La Musique” to be performed at the ILO Conference in Geneva. And in Spain, leading Music against Child Labour Initiative activist, soprano Pilar Jurado, has composed a new lullaby for the Initiative, which she will perform for the first time with the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada.
The concert in Granada is not the only one to be held around World Day Against Child Labour. From the opening concert of the Winter season of the KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra in Durban in May, to the opening concert of the Annual General Assembly of Jeunesses Musicales International in Croatia in July, audiences will be able to enjoy the following performances dedicated to the Music against Child Labour Initiative:
South Africa 15 May Durban, KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic, Winter season opening concert
France 23 June Gardanne, D. Beaume and T. Benham (accordion)
Switzerland 10 June Geneva, ILO-IPEC* Steering Committee, Ecole Gabriel Péri , Gardanne, France
Italy 31 May Roma, “Liceo Musicale Farnesina”, 10 June Milano, Orchestra Suzuki (cond. Antonio Mosca*) 12 June Milano, concert: winners of the national schools composition competition for the Initiative 12 June Parma, Coro "Paer" di Colomo 12 June Pesaro, Filarmonica Gioachino Rossini
Côte d’Ivoire 12 June Bouflé, Chœur pour l’abolition du travail des enfants
Lebanon 12 June Beq’aa and Hermel, musical production by IPEC project beneficiary children
United Kingdom 13 June, London, Basil Al Ghalayini & Vartan Melkonian (piano & cello)
Spain (concerts facilitated by AMPOS/FIM*) 14 June Bilbao, Sinfónica de Euzkadi 14 June Granada, Orquesta Ciudad de Granada with Pilar Jurado* 14 June Tenerife, Sinfónica de Tenerife
Croatia 9 July Grozjnan, opening concert Jeunesses Musicales International* Annual General Assembly (in the presence of the President Ivo Josipović)
(* Co-founders of the Initiative)