My name is Demetrius Spaneas and I am a Boston-based saxophonist and composer. I invite you to join me in bringing American music to Tajikistan, a Central Asian country on the Afghanistan border.
I have been invited to be Artist-in-Residence for a three-week period in Tajikistan from late April to mid May 2010. This is a joint collaboration between the Bactria Cultural Centre and the US Embassy in Dushanbe. The program’s goal is to create an opportunity for interaction among musicians from different cultures, as well as to offer a chance for cultural exchange between Tajikistan and the USA. My residency will include collaboration with local musicians, being the featured artist at the 2nd Central Asia Jazz Festival in Dushanbe, a planned trip to mountain villages in the Pamirs region for further artistic collaboration and community outreach, and several talks and presentations at educational institutions.
Creating international artistic dialogues is the focus of my career. These dialogues have taken the form of collaborative artistic projects with both contemporary and traditional artists; the goal has always been to create new art and to stimulate creativity between peoples who normally would have no contact.
Many of my initiatives have stemmed from an overwhelming desire to bring American music to countries of the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and China. I partner with local cultural organizations and universities, individual artists, and with the US Embassies abroad to create these collaborative projects in the true spirit of cultural diplomacy. Many times, I have been put into very difficult situations with the more oppressive governments, most especially in Central Asia. These hardships have made me particularly interested in introducing people to the beauty of American art forms and to the unique American individual spirit in which they have been created. The freedom of expression in Jazz music has held great interest for many of these people since they consider it to be a representation of American thought.
A story of my last trip to Uzbekistan can be found here:
http://www.dspaneas.com/2009/01/ (Uzbekistan, February 2009)
American Jazz has become a symbol of freedom and democracy for these artists. They want to learn about it and understand it; they also want to share what they are about. This is the beauty of artistic dialogue: we will all emerge from the experience changed--we will have a deeper understanding of each other and of our unique cultures. The real treasure has always been in learning how open the people of these countries are, even though their governments are oppressive. Theirs is a beautiful and powerful spirit that never fails to move me. My hope is to bring recognition of these artists in the West so that others here may learn of the richness of their culture.
I am an independent artist; I raise money for these projects myself because I believe in them wholly. I am looking to raise funds for my travel; I have been securing funds already for the other expenses, but funding travel has been the most difficult. Total cost for the travel is $2,000, but I am hoping to raise at least half. All funds above and beyond this $1,000 will go towards the remaining travel expenses, other in-country expenses, and documentation.
Thank you for your consideration.
- (42 days)