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Virtual Music Ambassadors for Iran

Published by "U.S. Virtual Embassy Tehran,"

U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
Fact Sheet

Virtual Music Ambassadors Series

The Department of State operates a program that sends American musicians overseas to provide a greater understanding of our society through music. This program evolved from the Jazz Ambassadors, a program established in 1955 by the U.S. Department of State, that sought to bridge existing differences between countries during the Cold War.

March 1956 marked Jazz Ambassadors’ first international tour. Dizzy Gillespie traveled through southern Europe, the Middle East and South Asia with his 18-piece band, meeting awestruck audiences along the way. In 1956, 1960, and 1961, Louis Armstrong also participated, bringing his celebrated trumpet and distinctive voice to Ghana, Congo, Senegal, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan, and the United Arab Republic. In 1963, 1970, and 1972, Duke Ellington toured the Soviet Union, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Dave Brubeck visited 12 Polish cities in 1958. One onlooker said to Brubeck years later, “What you brought to Poland wasn’t just jazz. It was the Grand Canyon. It was the Empire State Building. It was America.”

The Department of State has brought 180 musicians from 46 jazz, urban or American roots music ensembles to 116 countries. In the traditions of Gillespie, Armstrong and Brubeck, these artists bring American culture through people-to-people exchanges to audiences around the globe, focusing particularly on those in more remote areas. These artists are a new generation of musical ambassadors, reaching beyond concert halls to interact with other musicians and the general public. This engagement with foreign audiences presents a positive image of the U.S. and a provides a greater understanding of our society.

The absence of an American presence in Iran means we have little opportunity to engage with a broader Iranian audience and explain American culture or learn about Iranian culture. Despite the Iranian government’s efforts to limit what its citizens see, hear, think, and feel by placing an “electronic curtain” around its people, we know the Iranian people remain hungry for information about the United States. We hope this Virtual Music Ambassadors program can work as a bridge between the American and Iranian people to learn more about one another.

In a January online poll of our Iranian audience we discovered a great deal of you were interested in American rock music. Below you will find links to articles on American popular music and a history of rock music in America. We would like to introduce you to the band Mankind is Obsolete (MKIO) - They are a female-fronted industrial rock band, based in Los Angeles, California. Check out their music video for their song Still Right Here. Tell us what you think.

Mankind Is Obsolete - Still Right Here


... Payvand News - 03/15/12 ... --

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