US Department of State accepting Music Abroad applications

Regular readers may recall seeing a number of stories over the last few years about bluegrass and traditional music artists touring in unexpected places. This past summer, Donna Ulisse shared her experiences with us during a visit to Russia with her group, the Poor Mountain Boys.

Often these tours are arranged though the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, with a goal of showcasing American culture to international audiences.

It was announced last week that applications are being accepted through January 16 for the State Department’s American Music Abroad initiative. According to the December 8 press release:

Using music as a means to engage audiences worldwide, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced today that the American Music Abroad program is now accepting applications for the 2012-2013 season.  Musicians interested in applying for this international exchange program, which consists of month-long, multi-country tours for approximately 10 ensembles from a variety of American musical genres, may apply at

American Music Abroad ensembles will be selected on the basis of artistic quality and commitment to educational and cultural engagement. To represent the full spectrum of the American musical landscape, musical ensembles from across the United States that specialize in Hip Hop, Rock & Roll, Jazz, Country, and other American roots music including but not limited to Native American, Latin, Afro-Caribbean, Blues, Bluegrass, Cajun, Gospel and Zydeco are invited to apply for this international exchange program.

American Music Abroad builds on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision of “smart power” diplomacy, which embraces the full range of diplomatic tools – in this case, music – to bring people together and foster greater understanding.

They want bluegrass? We got bluegrass!

Get your application in by 1/16 to be considered.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.