Azur Indian Music Project

My photo
San Jose, San Jose, Costa Rica
Welcome to our music for development space where we will try to keep our friends updated on Azur Indian's latests. We also hope to engage actively with other musicians and anyone who is interested in development issues in general to hopefully reach higher grounds. So please, post your comments and share your thoughts with us! Azur Indian(アズール・インディアン)のブログへようこそ!このページでは私たちの活動をご紹介していくほか、音楽に興味がある方、国際協力・開発に興味がある方との交流の場を作っていければと考えています。みなさんの思いやコメントをこの場でぜひ共有してください!

Monday, 8 November 2010


Here's the posters for the last event:
Innovations for International Development "Linking good ideas with good intentions"

We took the template from the same design used for our christmas presentation in 2008..
This was done with the help of a designer,
Thanks Omar!

Entry: Antarqui

Innovations for International Development Conference (entry continued)

This conference was of great success up to my consideration, taking into account the resources and time constraints due to a sudden change of venue brought up by  poor weather conditions and landslides that affected the surrounding areas of the UPEACE campus. Nevertheless the conference moved on smoothly in the Humboldt University in Pavas. The conference with different programs and thematic presentations allowed for networking and for the audience to participate in very interesting topics such as the ones mentioned in the previous post.

There is something that will stick with me from the initial presentations and that is the DIMENSIONS for international development projects by Renata Villers:
1.     Innovation in delivery and management of products and services
2.     Multi-Sectoral (presented also by Prof. Jan Pronk as the requirement of institutions for technical advances)
3.     Strategic management practices
4.     Scalable designs
5.     Measurement of results
6.     Financially sustainability design
7.     Policy dimensions

I think this will help very much in the analysis of our Music for Development Project, because it brings a clear and logical framework to work with.
Readers: Is there anything missing in these dimensions??

I wanted also to take this chance to post here the outline of the learnings from the Azur Indian Project presented in Japan, in the hopes of getting some feedback out there on how to move it forward.

Azur Indian Music Project
~Getting to know the world through Music~
6 November 2010
Azur Indian Music Project
Midori Kamada
Antarqui Romero
To think about raising awareness on development issues through music, brings the question on how to link these two worlds together. Until today, for a cello and piano duet, the answer to that question varies according to the circumstances and audience to whom the presentation is intended for.  Consequently, the initial segment within which we focused our energy was primary schools and junior high schools, since these facilitated our efforts of association, definition of the performance site, and most importantly, the opportunity to touch these minds in development, to realize our objectives of raising understanding on ways to alleviate poverty and how to help build sustainable livelihoods, according to our experience in the field.

This project was validated as an NGO by the International Division of the City Office of Niigata, Japan. Since 2008 we have been active with this project and have managed to make many presentations that vary from among other topics:
Experience as a volunteer and how to become a part of this form of aid.
Developing countries and the differences between Japan on poverty issues and developing opportunities.
Music appreciation and early stimulus through sound.

The objectives:
Presented to schools initially and then to other organizations ranged from the following:
1. To be familiar with international music and instruments through live music appreciation.
2. To acknowledge the relationship between Japan and other countries such as Honduras and Zimbabwe through lectures and music instruments from those regions.
3. To be familiar with the cultures and the customs of countries/regions which are relatively unheard of in Japan such as those from Honduras, Zimbabwe, and in general Central America and Southern Africa.
4. To recognize their own Japanese traditional music through music appreciation.
5. To familiarize themselves with foreign languages such as English, Spanish and Shona.
7. To expand their knowledge on International Relationships in a rapidly changing multi-cultural society.

To achieve this, the topics and music presented in our lectures were set together with the school’s representatives according to their teaching agenda, and to develop a relationship with the students that would help in the communication process we attempted to build a set of presentations for that audience.

The balance between music and the lectures was defined in accordance to the audience’s age and interest, the depth and approach, grew from a familiar music repertoire, to international music that helped introduce the topics in the lecture.
This project brought a set of highs and lows in terms of seasonality.
Making our presentations for schools required adaptation to their yearly programs which sometimes was filled beforehand and had no space for events such as our project. This led to searching for more schools and other institutions that would keep us afloat regarding our expenses, which meant being more flexible in terms of these organizations’ requests, sometimes focusing more on music than our lectures.

Although we charged to cover our expenses for each presentation, if there had been financial support to charge less to these institutions, the control over the content and the amount of acceptance or repetitions on presentations would have been more. Therefore, something to look into for our project is alternative funding

Another important thing to consider regarding the initial question in this paper on how to link the world of music and development, now that Azur Indian is in Costa Rica, is the approach of the lectures.
In Japan we presented information about developing countries, but now that we are in a developing economy, we see music itself as a form of development. Music provides the tools for education to flourish, and a way to encourage a career path through music as an option. This is what we are now looking into in order to move our project forward now in Costa Rica

We would appreciate it if you can provide some feedback on your experience or any advice regarding our learnings and future goals.

Azur Indian

Entry: Antarqui

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Club Union San Jose: 4th November 2010

We practiced at "Club Union"( in San Jose today. This place was established in 1923, since then it has been utilized by important figures of Costa Rica such as politicians, entrepreneurs and so forth. I can imagine how those people talked in this place, having cigar and whisky, sitting on a comfortable sofa in front of a fireplace...(ummm maybe not a fireplace because Costa Rica is too hot to have one!)  

This construction has several rooms such as a conference room, a billiard room, a bar.... where we practiced was in restaurant. It was rich in ornament with beautiful a drawing (5 women representing central America) and chandelier.

The piano they have here was Yamaha, piano de cora (fluegel klavier). It was over all in good condition! I was too excited to play this piano in this spacious restaurant. There was no one in the restaurant when we arrived there, so started practicing immediately. We were a little excited since it was for the first practice after half a year.

After a while, we also had dinner there. I ordered a glass of red tasted just super, had rich flavour in it...fruity but heavy. I loved it!! Can you believe it was just a glass of wine, not like selected bottle?

For the main (though it was salad) I ordered Grey Palmito and Salmon Salad. I tasted White Palmito (heart of palm) a week before in Puntarenas, and really liked it because it was just like Bamboo which is my favourite. But this Grey Palmito (the long one in the picture) is very special in terms of its taste and the place you can have......the taste wise, I could feel the taste of palm, while the white one has slightly less taste of it. And the place wise, you cannot find grey one anywhere else in Costa Rica but only in this Club Union.

This one is white palmito, for example. A very kind servant brought it to us to compare with the grey one. The red fruit is actually from the same palm tree which bears palmito! You would boil it, and peel the skin and then eat it. This part tasted just like Chestnuts! The servant told us that Costa Rican people loves this fruit!

I was completely satisfied and inspired by the cuisine! Everything has own taste, even the butter for bread. I could feel the milk in it!

Well, today's entry turns to be a "restaurant report..." :))

After the meal, we played for customers who were having dinner then.

It things allow, we hope to practice here from time to time.

Entry: Midori

Innovation for International Development Conference: 6th November

A conference on "Innovation for International Development" took place in San Jose on the 6th November. The programme was consisted of 6 parts:
1. Opening Remarks by Jan Pronk, Professor of Theory and Practice of International Development at the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in the Netherlands and President of the Society for International Development (The Netherlands)

2. Renata Villers, Executive Director of Amigos del Aprendizaje (ADA) and Fellow of CALI (Central American Leadership Initiative, of the Aspen Institute and INCAE) (Costa Rica)

3. Panel Discussion: Making Innovations Happen

Facilitated by Professor Nika Silvetti, Coordinator of Responsible Management and Sustainable Economic Development program at UPEACE (Italy)

Eduardo Mata, National Coordinator of the GEF-UNDP Small Grants Program in Costa Rica (Costa Rica)

Dr. Juergen Carls, Government Advisor to the Ministry of Agriculture in Lisbon, Portugal; Freelance consultant to the FAO; and Professor for UPEACE (Germany)

Andrés Castro Ruiz, Director of Architec, SA (Costa Rica)

4. Break Out Presentation 1
I participated in Appro-Eco Scouting: Looking for Ideas that Really Work.
• Gail Swithenbank, Principal, Green Design Strategies (USA)

Antarqui participated in Innovative Model for Hands-On, Experiential Learning in Higher
• Dr. Pedro Bidegaray, Director of International Academic Programs, EARTH University (Peru)

5. Break Out Presentation 2
Both Antarqui and I participated in Social Entrepreneurship—Innovating from Within.
• Mohit Mukherjee, Director, UPEACE Centre for Executive Education, (India)

(Can you guess who it is?)

6. Exposition
We presented the project using video clips and pictures that we took before in Niigata. We could get to talk to a lot of people!

It was indeed a rich event in which we learnt a lot about "innovation". This is what we really needed!

We started Azur Indian Music Project over 2 years ago, in fact, we first begun to play music at some parties and gigs, soon after we gradually formed this as a project (not just playing randomly) on International Understanding for Japanese citizens using the means of music appreciation combining our skills. Coincidentally our educational background and work experience were very similar; music and development.

But, we faced difficulties, it was mostly about finance. Our project depended on the budget of respective entities which asked us to perform, but not many entities had enough budget; particularly, for spending for work of art. So, it endangered our lives, too, lol!!

Another issue was promoting. We mainly targeted schools (both private and public, from nursery school to high school), posting our advertisement to each schools. However, we only received some responses. I analyzed it had something to do with school schedule. Since schools in Japan starts in April, they plan educational design by sometime in February at latest. In this sense, if advertisement and their interest doesn't meet by then, it would  be definitely hard to change their mind to have us out of their initial plan in the middle of school year.

Other issues can be our own time constraint. Since I could not predict until when I could stay in Niigata depending on my other work which enables and sustains myself to continue music project. Indeed, I could not have continued this project without having other job because it was financially tight without, as I mentioned above!

After all; everything was put into a negative circulation, financial tightness leads to be passive towards active promotion, and this circulates to financial problem.

As we proceed this project in Costa Rica, we really need to get these problems solved.
1. Fund
2. Promotion

Honestly, this conference gave us fresh and innovative ideas not only from the talks by the lecturers, but also from participants through some of the activities that we took part in. Furthermore, we could meet many people who belong to various organizations, NGOs students from many countries. Hopefully we sum up every essence we gained and this enables us to move forward! 

(Plus, I was personally feeling comfortable to participate in the conference because "development" is much more familiar to me than Peace making and Media :)) )

(Tonight's dinner; Pescado y Mariscos con salsa de tomate @ Club Union :)) )

Entry: Midori