In its fifth year, the Mitrovica Rock School has fostered ties between ethnic groups and shown many that there are few differences in the problems each face.
By Miki Trajkovski for Southeast European Times in Skopje -- 13/09/12
Rock school students perform at the City Park in Skopje. [Miki Trajkovski/SETimes]
Eighty young musicians from Mitrovica, Kosovo; Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Struga, Macedonia, performed earlier this month at the City Park in Skopje as part of the fifth annual Mitrovica Rock School.
At the school, experienced musicians train the region’s future rock stars. Every year, the north and south of the divided city come together for summer schools in Skopje. Since its inception in 2008, 300 youth have attended the Rock School -- including 120 Albanian and Serbian youths from Mitrovica.
After practicing and getting to know each other for more than a week, the bands closed their summer with the seven-hour concert in the park.
Playing world-famous musical refrains, the youth has shown that their desire for socializing and communication are stronger than politicians and war.
"The three cities have ethnic problems, some more than others, and we want to use the music as a bridge to connect the divided parts," Ruud Borgers, a participant in the project from the Netherlands, told SETimes.
"We are trying and succeeding to overcome the barriers in these places, but what is important is that we give the young ones the leading role, they take the role of leaders in their communities because they are the future of this region," Laura Hasler, from Musicians without Borders in the Netherlands, said.