He is known for seeking support for Ukraine around the world, but US Secretary of State Antony Blinken took the stage Wednesday, guitar in hand, to launch a diplomatic initiative through music.
Blinken’s performance came during a ceremony where he launched the “Music Diplomacy Initiative,” intended to improve American foreign policy through music.
After jazz icon Herbie Hancock took the stage; Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters, and the promising pop singer Gayle, Blinken took the stage, in the reception room of the State Department, and he did it jokingly, assuring that, with his intervention, other artist will be left behind. behind the ground.
Playing the guitar and lowering the tone of his usually soft voice, Blinken offered a cover of blues legend Muddy Waters’ “Hoochie Coochie Man,” and managed to keep his audience – many of them his subjects – from to leave and even encouraged him.
For decades, American pop culture has been popular across the planet and has been able to gain a foothold without the support of Washington.
During the Cold War, the United States sent many of its artists abroad, some of them black, who in their own country were forced to perform in certain places because of diversity.
Now, within the framework of this initiative, the United States will deploy famous artists to Jordan and Saudi Arabia this fall, and a philharmonic orchestra to China.
Herbie Hancock, accompanied by Dee Dee Bridgewater and the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) jazz ensemble, will perform in Jordan in October, commemorating pianist Duke Ellington’s historic 1963 concert, the State Department reported in a statement.
Herbie Hancock’s tour will continue in Saudi Arabia, where four days of concerts will be held, in an Islamic country that has until now banned music performances.
Similarly, the Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra will perform in several Chinese cities from November 9 to 18 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its 1973 tour, which took place one year after Richard Nixon’s visit to Beijing. A violinist who participated in that tour will play in this year’s concerts.
The “Music Diplomacy Initiative” envisions a series of musical exchanges and collaborations, including sending hip hop artists to Nigeria in September.
During Wednesday’s ceremony, artist Quincy Jones received an honorary award, “peace through music.”