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About the Program

In 2002 and 2003, OGGI toured in Eastern Europe and Central Asia with programs sponsored by the U.S. Embassies in Poland, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan. In 2006 and 2007 the band went to West Africa twice (Benin and Mauritania) and to Algeria. During the course of these successful tours, the band developed a program philosophy that includes the following elements:

  • The performance component consists of public concerts in large and small venues that often include appearances with traditional folk musicians from the host country. These collaborative concerts powerfully convey mutual respect and understanding of respective cultures and musical traditions.
  • The educational component includes presentations and workshops at English language, music, and public schools. These can be tailored to meet specific goals conveyed through traditional story, song, and American folk dance forms.
  • The community outreach component includes performance and exchange at local arts venues, orphanages, festivals, community events, private gatherings, and anywhere music and dance can be shared in an informal atmosphere with the primary focus on audience participation.
  • The documentation component entails videography, audio recording, and still photography that captures special moments and provides the raw material for future documentaries, cultural promotion initiatives, and multi-faceted live presentations.
  • The follow-up component involves live presentations stateside and abroad that personify tour themes and lead to subsequent collaborations. These combine performance, stories, and video with audience participation and ensure that the magic of the tour and resulting multi-cultural relationships endure.

Together, these components contribute to the fulfillment of sponsor objectives and OGGI’s mission.


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