The Ethno folk and world music program of Brussels-based youth music NGO Jeunesses Musicales has been growing exponentially since the last decade. Started in 1990, the youth music program is aimed at young musicians in the age group 16-30 that play traditional music. With its unique peer-to-peer teaching style and learning-by-ear pedagogy, Ethno is synonymous with youth folk orchestras in over 20 countries.
Starting January 2019, the program received a tremendous boost from the Ethno: Global Music Connections grant by MInnesota-based foundation Margaret A Cargill Philanthropies (MACP). The grant allowed the Ethno program to expand in five key thrust areas – mobility for musicians, organisers’ training, professionalisation, Ethno in the USA, and research.
Recently, eighteen countries have joined the grant program, including three existing ones, a giant leap for Ethno! These are Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Greece, Indonesia, Jordan, Malawi, Morocco, Palestine, Poland, South Africa, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey and Uganda. In some countries, JM members existed, but will run Ethno as a new program for their network of young musicians. The rest are new members to the global network of JM member organisations that today number 62 organisations in 48 countries!
With the addition of these 18 countries, the number of countries that are running, or will shortly run, the Ethno program, now reaches 38. A number of the new countries are from the global south, reflecting the network’s commitment to music access for all. Young musicians in Asia, Africa and South America can look forward to sharing their rich culture with musicians across the world, and Ethno organisers can look forward to participating in international training programs that build their capacity.