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A friend once told me that if you’re scared of something, pretend the world is going to end in five seconds.

Tell yourself that in five seconds you will have done the thing you’re afraid of, and then start counting. I used this simple technique to get myself off the spiral. I told myself I was going to do two things; first was to eat well and exercise so that I had the best chance of staying healthy, secondly I had to submit to fate. I had to accept that what will be, will be. I had to accept that I did not have the power to control my own death. I had to accept that all I could do was live well and take each day as it came.

My time will come, sooner or later, but in the mean time I know that having the sniffles won’t be the end of me!

Center, I was asked to join a group of Russians who were trying to promote the idea of building peace through cultural di- versity. My was set up

J

tour with the help

of the Glasgow City Council and the Russian Cultural Center. Our shows took place in schools, con- cert halls, clubs and a special show at the Arts club set up in Edinburgh by the American Consulate.

The idea was to show young peo- ple in schools that people from different lands can work together even if they come from very dif- ferent backgrounds. In our case we had three Russian Classically trained musicians working with an American Folk Artist. Many of the

ust a few months following the tragic attack on the World Trade

shows took place in some of the poorest neighborhoods, with some of them in Muslim communities

It might sound like a bit of a stretch musically with me play- ing an American banjo (really an African instrument) together with an accordion, classical violin and a Xylophone and to tell the truth it really was! The students watched as we struggled with not only mu- sical styles but language and cul- ture, yet through our struggles we showed them that if we listen and work together we can learn from each other. In truth a program of musicians from the USA and Russia fostering the idea of peace and understanding seemed to set the right note as only a little over a decade back we our selfs were still adversaries.

One of the performances took place on December 11th just a few

minutes they were laughing and singing along with old American folk classics and then when we in- troduced this simple Russian song everything clicked and we reached common ground. Near the end of show we featured a Russian song that was composed by a young boy during the heat of the Cold war. The Song “May there always be Sunshine”

May there always be sun- shine, May there always be blue skies, may there always be mama, may there

al- ways be me, (repeat)

Was first sung and pronounced by our Russian violinist

“Lev” and then I helped the kids with

learning the songs complete with the hand gestures. Then we sung it together in both

Russian and English. I led them into song by ex- months after the attack of the World trade Center. That

morning we watched a special feature detailing the events of that tragic day on BBC television. Ironi- cally our first performance of the day we were scheduled to perform at a Muslim school on the outskirts of Glasgow. . At first it was a bit strange to see the sea of Muslim children dressed in their traditional head ware, especially after see- ing the strong images from the TV show.

As I faced the crowd of eager young faces, I knew that more than ever it was important to give these children a good example of our culture and people. With in

plaining the words with a few sim- ple hand motions with our arms reaching the sun, reaching the sky, rocking a baby and pointing to our selves.

Here we were two Russians and an American from countries once locked in suspicion and fear, now joined together in the hopes of fostering peace and brotherhood. As we sang the song and the young voices filled the room, struggling to sing together as one voice with their arms reaching out towards the sun, I could see that there is still hope.

by Rik Palieri

Rik Palieri and Marianna Holzer More info: rik@banjo.net Website: www.banjo.net

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