Music Beyond Borders’ vision is on the wider study through international projects of the uses of music by individuals suffering under oppressive regimes and its key role as a tool for protest against the violation of human rights and as a force for survival, resistance, change and the bridging of cultural gaps. It aims to transform these real stories into powerful instruments for promoting public awareness and engagement, and the defense of humanitarian values on a global level.

The scholarly research is based on extensive original archival work on unpublished primary sources in international archives, including historical documents, artifacts, photographs, artworks and audio-visual materials. Notably, MBB is recording original oral histories, building a unique archive of the experiences and music of those people directly involved – especially the unknown foot soldiers, men and women from all walks of life, whose narratives are too often lost to history or overshadowed by the famous protagonists of struggle.

Each project is unique and will tell a compelling story through its music, culture and people. These stories recreate the historical context, with its complex socio-political issues, and uncover the musical repertories which communicated them, dealing with every genre of world music and culture — from the freedom songs sung in the liberation struggle against apartheid in South Africa during the 1960s-90s to the mizik rasin and compas styles of Haitian revolt in the 1980s-90s, the rap and hip-hop commentaries of Libyan youth movements in 2010s and the echoes of Sayyid Darwish and Sheikh Imam’s music around Tahrir Square in the Egyptian revolution of 2011, to cite but a few world events that merit full attention.