A chance for harmony amid the Mostar ruins - World - News - The Independent

A chance for harmony amid the Mostar ruins

CHILDREN OF WAR APPEAL

Among the ruins of east Mostar, where buildings lie shattered and children pick their way among the rubble, music offers a path to some kind of harmony among the people of the city. In a small (but intact) room amid the bombed-out ruins of a hotel, a group of children sing, their voices rising to a crescendo of cheers and laughter: a music lesson for pupils of the special school.

Nigel Osborne, professor of music, composer and critic (for the Independent) has poured his energies into building a music centre in Mostar, a means not only to restore the civilisation of the city but also to advance into the next century. At present the centre is a facade, the interior gutted by the relentless fire from the west bank of the Neretva river, where Bosnian Croat militiamen made war on the people of the east, most of them Muslims. Rebuilding will soon begin. Meanwhile, Mr Osborne, in conjunction with the charity WarChild, one of four charities supported by the Independnent's Christmas appeal, is addressing the project's human needs.

The centre will have a tripartite mission: education, music therapy and a state-of-the-art recording studio. This last facility is hoped to attract bands and orchestras from all over the region, bringing an economic boost to east Mostar and, perhaps, persuading those in the west that there is at least one good reason to repair relations with former neighbours.

The educational aspect is already working, based on the new Bosnian curriculum, which requires an hour of music study a week. Mr Osborne and WarChild have run refresher courses for music teachers at primary schools in Mostar and are distributing to schools the instruments needed in the curriculum. There are plans afoot for Bosnian professors to visit British universities and vice-versa. Music teaching locally will focus on children of primary age and a few of the very talented.

Last and perhaps most important is the planned music therapy department. In Mr Osborne's vision it will combine a clinical practice with a research and training department. Music therapy is a newish practice but gaining ground all the time among the medical profession; Bosnia has all too many potential patients."Most of the broken heads here have been sewn up and rehabilitation will be the priority," he said. He hopes that potential therapists will want to study in Mostar.

Musicians are raising funds for the centre. Luciano Pavarotti, who has already given WarChild $300,000 (pounds 196,000), is to present another cheque for $150,000 next week, from sales of a CD, ''Pavarotti andFriends'', recorded at a concert in Modena . The centre also will benefit from sales of "Miss Sarajevo", a single by Pavarotti, Bono and Brian Eno.

While the Help Bosnia CD, recorded in 24 hours last summer, was primarily aimed at raising money for medical and food aid, some profits from the recording will go to the Mostar venture. Sales and profits of the disc, which featured members of Blur and Oasis, Paul McCartney and Paul Weller, have far outstripped expectations.

Perhaps music might seem a frivolous way to help a country of refugees, of wounded, hungry and bereaved - yet Bosnia needs food for the soul, too. WarChild ran a bakery in east Mostar, providing more than a million loaves of bread to its inhabitants; WarChild still delivers food aid. But now, the agency argues, there is a need to expand beyond the material. "Here what's needed is a cultural regeneration," said Jonathan House, the WarChild representative in Mostar. The country's urban educated middle- class has been ravaged by the war (and its rural population uprooted in huge numbers). The cities need to provide the life and opportunities to prevent a second exodus and encourage a reversal of the brain drain.

The people of Mostar still need the basics for survival, but they also need a broader vision for the future, and they do need your money to realise that vision. Once the centre is operating - particularly in the way that Mr Osborne hopes - there will be added incentives to cross the line and play together with former enemies. Only through mutual dependence will Bosnia survive.

Dijana, 12, and Edina, 15, are pupils at the school, standing around giggling after the lesson with Mr Osborne. "It's great," Dijana said, "We like learning songs." It is a kind of therapy, a dose of normality for a people brutalised by war. But perhaps most important, the music centre will not be a humanitarian hand-out but a project that can involve all Bosnians.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week