• Ayumi

The power of music to unite people… Story of creating Women Of The World”

“Music has such power to connect people beyond race, religion, country or language barrier.”

- Here’s how I saw this in my life.

13 years ago, after graduating from high school, I had a surgery to treat my Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome which I had been dealing with for my entire life.

One month before the surgery, I had an urge to visit the United States. So, I decided to go on a solo trip from West Coast to East Coast, knowing that I wouldn't be able to perform normal mouth-jaw activities for the following 6 months of jaw-rehabilitation.

Santa Monica, CA was the first city I visited during the trip. At the Hosteling International where I stayed at, I met a dear lady from Israel.

Back then, I could barely speak English nor Hebrew, but somehow the song and dance I learned in my elementary school came to mind. So, I started singing for her.

It’s called “Mayim Mayim.”

Her face immediately brightened up. She said, “Oh my God, that’s an old Israeli folk song! How do you know this song?”

She taught me that this was a song to celebrate drawing water from the "springs of salvation."

It was a joyful moment for both of us to find out that we had something in common to share, and my knowing this folk song made our new friendship a close one. Such a happy memory!

This experience helped me realize that I have a desire to make this world a happier and loving place through my music, even if the outcome may be small. For that, I knew I needed to delve into learning and understanding different cultures, history, and music of the world!

So, I decided to study abroad at Berklee College of Music, where there were students from over 90 different countries.

During the three years of my time at Berklee, I learned a variety of folk music from Bulgaria, Ghana, Ireland, Middle East, and many more regions of the world.

While it was amazing to develop my career as a solo singer, I started to feel that I wanted to create music with other people who believed in the same values and visions to connect the world through music regardless of our differences.

So, in 2008, I started scouting for members to form my own international vocal group, and that became Women of the World. In the beginning, we had a group of 7 singers, including myself from Japan and other members from Italy, USA, Serbia, Pakistan, Brazil, Greece and Mexico.

Our first performance was at a small concert hall at Berklee. Slowly, people started to recognize our work, and we began getting opportunities to perform both on and off campus.

In the last 10 years, there were several member changes, and even though the group has experienced lots of ups and downs, I am very grateful to be able to continue our work till now.

One of our recent memorable experiences was that we won the International A Cappella Championship “ACA Open” at the prestigious Carnegie Hall last year. This enabled us to expand our work, not only performing at numerous concert venues worldwide but also to host cultural-exchange workshops in many schools in the US.

I would like to utilize my experience and global connection, gained through the activities of the Women of The World, to promote the “100 Voices, 1 Heart" Project and in celebration of our 10th anniversary.

#anniversary #backgroundstory

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© by Ayumi Ueda 2018.