Rock music has been the language of youth for generations. The raw audacity of rock gives them a voice: to express anger at political corruption and social immobility, to revolt against established meaninglessness, to connect with the past, and collaborate with people across distance and borders. Rock music stands for agency, freedom, and connection.
Mitrovica Rock School uses rock music to bring together young Serb and Albanian musicians from the ethnically divided city of Mitrovica in Kosovo. The school’s music education program has band coaching at its center. Band coaching teaches communication, collaboration, compromise, and ownership during the process of creating original music: valuable skills that can be applied both inside and outside the rehearsal room.
This approach was adopted by Roma Rock School in North Macedonia in 2018, where youth from the marginalized Roma community merge alternative music with traditional Roma melodies to create Roma rock songs, coached by professional teachers in a multi-ethnic environment.
Music Connects is a four-project launched by Dutch NGO Musicians Without Borders that expands this approach to hundreds of talented young musicians. Besides daily music lessons at the rock schools, the project offers exchanges and residencies in Kosovo, North Macedonia, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany.
Balkan Trafik is an official partner of Music Connects, and will host super groups formed by musicians from Mitrovica Rock School, Roma Rock School, and the Dutch Fontys Rockacademie. The bands mix alternative pop music with ex-Yu rock and traditional Roma melodies.
Two Music Connects super groups will take the stage at Balkan Trafik!