Music diplomacy project brings artists to Saratoga

An array of young musicians from Colombia, Brazil, India, Zimbabwe, the U.S. and 12 other countries across the world are descending in the Bay Area this weekend in a free festival that celebrates unique sounds and collaborations.

The 25 musicians ages 19 through 35 also are participating in a two-week residency at OneBeat, a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and produced by Bang on a Can’s Found Sound Nation.

Sunday’s OneBeat festival at Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga promises performances of what organizers call “genre-shattering musical works.” Past participants in OneBeat, which was formed in 2012, describe its huge impact.

“OneBeat changed my life and my mind,” says Wei Wei, a former OneBeat fellow from Beijing. “It let me know that people can be so close to each other, and that music has a strong and special power in making the world a better one.”

Kasiva Mutua, composer, percussionist and chanter from Kenya, was inspired by her fellow women artists: “Seeing all these women defy borders and take the stage to make music with determination and hope has sparked an urge to try my best to inspire women back home who have talent, but are scared to come out and share it with the world,” she says.

This year’s event features Daniela Serna, a composer-percussionist from Bogotá, who works in traditional Colombian cumbia, porro, fandgo and currulao music styles; Sanaya Ardeshir (whose stage name is Sandunes), a Mumbai-based synth artist/composer; and Brazilian Lara Klaus, a percussionist and teacher at Integrarte, a nonprofit working with children and adults with Down Syndrome.

Also among 2014 OneBeat fellows are Zimbabwe’s Hope Masike, an award-winning Mbira player and vocalist, who has released two albums; Baltimore-based Anna Roberts-Gevalt, who specializes in Appalachian fiddle and banjo; and Russian accordion recording artist and educator Alexander Shirunov.

The event – described as “part concert, part musical festival” – showcases small group performances throughout Montalvo's grounds and buildings, and guests are invited to mingle among musicians as they perform.

The finale is a culminating ensemble performance in the Garden Theater.

IF YOU GO

OneBeat festival

Where: Montalvo Arts Center, 15400 Montalvo Road, Saratoga

When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: Free admission

Contact: (408) 961-5814, www.montalvoarts.org

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