M&R activities summer 2023

The final concert is starting!

The M&R team has just completed its activities for Summer 2023, which took place from 7 to 19 August. This year the team (consisting of a total of 17 people) worked separately in the first week, and then came together in Baalbek for Summer Camp in the second week, which culminated in the final concert on Saturday 19.

During the first week, Community Music work was carried out in the camps of Beddawi (Tripoli) and Mar Elias (Beirut); in the latter, we began a collaboration with Al Kamandjati, a long-standing Palestinian association that has always brought high-level musical training to the diaspora places of their people. With them we shared our activities and the study of the pieces for the final concert. Meanwhile, in the El Jalil camp in Baalbek, we continued our work focused on musical psychosocial interventions, both working directly with the children (in a large group!) and training and sharing with local teachers. We also welcomed two music therapy trainees who were able to both run a short music therapy programme with two small groups of children from the camp and participate in the psychosocial sessions.

Orchestral rehearsals in Baalbek

In the second week the whole group of students and the M&R team gathered at the El Jalil camp in Baalbek to attend the Summer Camp: a week of total immersion in music and sociality! This year, thanks also to M&R’s new local coordinator, Ahmad El Kheir, we managed to involve students not only from the camps where we usually work (Beddawi, Ein El Helweh, El Jalil) but also from Shatila, Burj El Barajneh (both in the Beirut area) and Burj El Shemali (near Tyre, in the south of the country). This is a great result of inclusion and sharing for young people who find it very difficult to get together: in total, the Summer Camp involved almost 80 people, including students, local operators and M&R team members, in a great international exchange of solidarity and musical sharing. This is Community Music!

Ten pieces were performed at the final concert, five of which were Arabic pieces selected and arranged by Assomoud and five European pieces arranged by the M&R team. The orchestra was composed of the children participating in the Community Music project, together with musicians from the Italian team and from Al Kamandjati. A choir composed of children from the local camp also participated, singing a traditional Italian song (Schiarazula Marazula) and lyrics of their own composition to the melody of the final song (L’amour toujours by Gigi D’agostino!).

This year’s work has been demanding but of great beauty and significance, both for us and for all those involved. We believe that the atmosphere of passionate sharing and deep friendship that permeated the days of the Summer Camp is as important as the musical results we achieved, and that it has given us experiences that will flourish within us, bringing light, warmth and music wherever we go.

Almost ready for M&R August 2023!

At Prima Materia this Saturday we hosted a large part of the Italian team to organise the imminent departure for Lebanon. The Community Music team met to work on the repertoire that will be studied with the Palestinian students and performed at the final concert on 19 August, and we had some fun playing, rehearsing and discussing together.

This year the Italian team amounts to 17 people! This is a very large number, which testifies to the interest in this project. We are grateful to all those who support M&R directly or indirectly… only through synergy on many levels is it possible to create something meaningful, that really has a result. M&R operates on many levels, and direct activities with young Palestinian students is ‘only’ our main tool to empower a community in need. But what we are able to do concretely is the sum of the work of all those involved; we also learn and grow as social and conscious beings ourselves, and we bring these consciousnesses back into our societies. No experience can be wasted, each one is an opportunity for another small step towards a healthier society.

See you in Lebanon!

Preparations for M&R activities 2023

Marco and Alberto have just returned from a field visit to Lebanon to define the activities for this August. Through a series of meetings it was decided to involve the students in a Summer Camp with a final concert, similar to last year, and also to continue with the psychosocial activity in Wavel camp (in Baalbek).

M&R has a new local coordinator, Ahmad, with whom the whole team is looking forward to working together! On the last day of their stay, Marco and Alberto joined Ahmad in a music day at the Beddawi centre (in Tarablus), which involved students from the Beddawi camp and Ein El Helweh (from Saida) in the study and performance of some songs.

Now the actual preparation can begin in Italy for the summer and Summer Camp activities!

Music & Resilience @ CSO Pedro, Padua

On February 23, Music&Resilience’s team went to Padua, in Pedro’s Social Center, to talk about art and music as a form of resistance, in relation to our project that has been going on in Lebanon for ten years, within the Palestinians refugee camps.

The evening also hosted the stories of past projects, such as Gaza is Alive, an initiative that brought the study and practice of Hip Hop to the Gaza Strip in 2019; and the presentation of the books “No sleep till Shengal” by Zerocalcare and “La Montagna sola. The Ezidis and the democratic autonomy of Sengal” by Chiara Cruciati and Rojbîn Berîtan.

Talking about revolutions, experiments and struggles that otherwise would not be heard opens the gaze to those parts of the world that have so much to tell and to teach. Talking about resilience and liberation is the first step for transforming solidarity into a concrete gesture and creating an intertwining between the different experiences that come together.

M&R at the 9th European Music Therapy Day in Cesena

For the 9th European Music Therapy Day, the “Bruno Maderna” Conservatory in Cesena organized a music therapy conference on November 18 and 19. Alberto Balducci was invited, along with Jacopo Camillini and Sara Tosolini, to speak at the conference, to present M&R and share the work done in the August 2022 music therapy internship (completed by Sara and Jacopo at the El Jalil camp in Baalbek).

Alberto introduced the project to the audience, explaining its genesis and activities, and speaking about the civic and social situation of the Palestinian community, while Sara and Jacopo expounded on the music therapy work done with the children of El Jalil. Starting from an account of the daily living conditions in the camps and their persistence for 74 years, Alberto introduced the audience to a recent research by a United Nations agency reporting that Palestinian refugees in Lebanon “described unsafety as a pervasive psychological experience” (UNDP, 2020, “Nothing and Everything to Lose: Results from a Qualitative WhatsApp Survey of Palestinian Camps and Gatherings in Lebanon”). This experience of “unsafety” allowed for the introduction of the concept of “safe space” (in a broad sense, both physical and psychological) that is essential for any situation that allows for a therapeutic journey. The concept of “safe space” was then further explored by Jacopo and Sara in their description of their own human and internship experience, showing how music provides us with many powerful tools that make it possible to create safe spaces even in the most difficult situations, where we can meet, be ourselves, and walk onwards together.

M&R at the 3rd Mediterranean Music Therapy Meeting

On September 24th the 3rd Mediterranean Music Therapy Meeting took place in Padua, a conference organized by the “Giovanni Ferrari” music therapy school of Padua, in which music therapy professionals from the Mediterranean area met to discuss the topic “musical spaces in music therapy, between the analog and digital world“.

Alberto Balducci of Music & Resilience was invited to speak at the conference, where he presented a speech entitled “Did COVID matter for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon?“. In his speech, Alberto introduced the Music & Resilience project and summarized the history of the Palestinian refugee community in Lebanon, describing its current situation and the activities carried out by M&R in 2021-2022, highlighting the use of the internet as a tool to maintain and strengthen human and musical bonds when it was not possible to travel due to the pandemic.

Alberto also invited the audience to reflect on the meaning of isolation, lack of resources, confinement in small spaces, situations of high toxic stress, etc. that shaped our lives during the lockdown due to the COVID-19 epidemic and how they can in fact be compared, to some extent, to the daily living conditions in the Palestinian refugee community (with the notable difference that the current situation in the camps has been going on for 74 years). From a personal point of view, for Alberto the experiences lived over the years with his Palestinian friends in the M&R project were fundamental to fully understand (and therefore also to face) the situation of the 2020 and 2021 lockdowns: the Palestinian community in Lebanon has been a great teacher of resilience for all of us.

Summer Camp 2022

Final Concert, Eljalil camp, Baalbek, 13th August 2022

The 2022 Summer Camp was a great success, with 2 full weeks of music making and fun for around 80 children and adolescents from the camp communities of Beddawi, Ein Elhilweh and Baalbek, together with PM’s team of 10 volunteers, between professional musicians, music therapists, journalists and student trainees.

Special thanks to the project’s main sponsor Taawon, and to the many private supporters who responded to our crowdfunding appeal.

More photos here!


To donate, in support of our 2022 M&R Summer Camp in lebanon – thank you!

PM has just held the Orientation week-end for the Italian team who will support the 2022 M&R Summer Camp, which will take place during the first 2 weeks in August, involving over 100 children and students from the Palestinian camp communities. The final concert will be in Baalbek on Saturday 13th August.

We need help with the airfares for our team of 10 teachers and students.

Any donations would be greatly appreciated – every little helps!

Please send this link on to others who may be able to help – many thanks again.

Preparations for the Summer Camp 2022

Prima Materia is ready to go with the new Summer Program after two years of COVID-induced prohibitions. Two members of our team (Deborah & Alberto) are completing the field visit to all the centers involved in Music & Resilience for planning details and also training where possible.

We were never let alone by our dear friend and colleague Mohammad Orabi who is now General Project Coordinator for Assumoud (our boss! thank you Mohammad for doing a great job).

We also had important strategic meetings with the Assumoud management and our trusted sponsor Taawon, whom we thank as always for its continuous support for the project.

Rehearsals for the Nakhba anniversary in Beddawi

Community Music workshops, December 2021

2 members of the team, Chiara Trapanese and Marco Lolli, were back in Lebanon for a week last December, running workshops with the Community Music groups in the Assumoud centres of Eni Elhilweh (Saida) and Beddawi (Tripoli).

The workshops consolidated the developments of our new online support project for the CM students and their local teachers.

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The visit also served to transport a digital piano donated in Italy to the Ein Elhilweh centre – our heartfelt thanks to the donor – this will make a world of difference to the students!