[un]Common Sounds documents the research journey of Professor Roberta King and Postdoctoral Fellow Sooi Ling Tan in bringing together Muslim and Christian scholars, ethnomusicologists, and musicians to explore the contribution of music and the arts in fostering sustainable peacebuilding efforts. Footage is taken from two colloquia held in Beirut, Lebanon, and Yogyakarta, Indonesia, as well as two concerts at each location that featured colloquia participants and local musicians.
Funding for this documentary film was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation through a three-year research grant awarded to the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts in 2007.
From GCW Director Roberta King: The documentary, [un]Common Sounds, addresses issues in interfaith dialogue and the role of music and the performing arts in worship and everyday life. Based on a generous three-year grant from the Henry Luce foundation (2008-2011), [un]Common Sounds documents the research journey of bringing together Muslims and Christian scholars, ethnomusicologists, and musicians to explore the contribution of music and the arts in fostering sustainable peace-building. This pursuit led to holding two colloquia, one in Beirut, Lebanon, and the other in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and two concerts at each location that featured colloquia participants and local musicians.
It is commonly assumed that music can and does play a critical role in bringing peace between people. Yet, investigations into what is taking place among Muslims and Christians via music are sparse. Among the aims of the study was to listen to, learn from, and give voice to local scholars and musicians who are in the midst of doing peace-building through music-making in regions that have suffered significant conflict. Living in a pluralistic world demands learning to work collaboratively across boundaries that can be extremely challenging and contentious. Thus, [un]Common Sounds also documents tensions and roadblocks that arose in the midst of doing such investigations. With participants hailing from Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the USA, [un]Common Sounds portrays some ways that music and the performing arts are promoting peace and reconciliation in local and global contexts. It seeks to initiate healthy dialogue for approaching our religious neighbors through music.