The talented Japanese singer Miou is a humanist who wants to heal people’s hearts and promote world peace through her music. Her uniqueness and originality were displayed before the SIGEF 2016 audience as a performer during the Horyou Foundation Dinner in Marrakesh, as well as a panelist discussing the power of art in promoting positive change in our society. In the interview below, Miou talks about her personal experiences, plans and dreams for the future.

Miou performing at SIGEG 2016, in Marrakesh
Miou performing at SIGEG 2016, in Marrakesh

1. Tell  us about your relationship with music: have you always wanted to become a singer?

I have always loved music. I have played piano for 20 years and alto horn and trumpet in the school brass band club and took singing lessons. But it was always a hobby to me and I never dreamt of becoming a professional musician. I wanted to set up a band but I didn’t know what to do. So I asked my friends who had a band and they suggested to me to search for my band members on the internet. There was a website for that. So I did it and I met one person, listened to his songs and we decided to make a band together. His music was fusion Japanese, very unique, and reminded me of my experience as an international beauty pageant. I sang a Japanese traditional song as a national talent at the International pageant in Malaysia (Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International). All the contestants were from different nationalities. But even if they didn’t understand the language, they loved the sound so much and the reaction was so good. And I felt “I am Japanese”. National tradition made me feel unique and original on the international stage. Since then, I have been trying to fuse traditional Japanese sound and modern western beat together, to create a “East meets West” crossover.

2.   What does music represent for you?

I was Miss Japan for various international beauty pageants and had a chance to represent my country and introduce Japanese culture to the world. Besides music, I studied education and medicine (nursery). I loved teaching and taking care of people in need. I have always liked to communicate with people. So I think my music is reflecting my personal experience and is a tool to convey my messages and communicate with people. I can teach and educate through music, I can heal people’s hearts through music as well. Music, culture and art have a strong power to convey messages and to change the world.

3.   What would you like to achieve as a singer?

I would like to heal people’s hearts through my music. I want to convey positive messages and promote world peace. Love ourselves, love our country, love our neighbours, love this planet, love our lives. The most important message is ”Love”. I like travelling as well and I want to sing around the world. Part of this dream came true in 2009, when I sang at the UNESCO’s world heritage site, the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence, Italy. I would like to do it more often!

4.   You made a performance during the SIGEF 2016 in Marrakesh – how do you evaluate this experience?

It was a great experience for me. As a Japanese artist, I have always cared about our environment. I believe everything is alive on Earth and we have to respect life, this planet is our mother and our home. If we hurt our planet, it is going to be difficult for us to live. If we take more care of this planet, it will be a better place for us to live in. Everything we do to the earth will come back to us. Some of my songs are also reflecting my respect and feelings towards nature, and messages to rethink about the environment and take an action to protect our mother land and home. So coming to Morocco to SIGEF was a very good experience for me as I felt I shared the same feelings and messages. I was inspired by others and I want to be the one to inspire others as well. I hope SIGEF continues to bring messages of respect of nature and world peace for more years to come.

5. What does social innovation mean to you? Do you have any cause you identify yourself with?

The social innovation and technology we have been experiencing is a great thing. This new evolution is allowing more people to share their views and bring their voices and feelings to the world. This is helping everyone, no matter who they are or where they are from. It is also helping people like me, artists in general, as we now have more ways to reach out to our audience globally. As for me, I aim to bring Japan to the world with my music, and also share a message of harmony with the nature.

6. Do you have a project for 2017 that you would like to share with our community?

I am set to perform at Etna Comics 2017 in Sicily. When it comes to the Japanese culture, animes and comics are very popular and well known worldwide. However, we have not only pop culture, but also many other traditional and chic culture as well. I want to present aspects of Japanese traditional culture such as “KIREI(beautiful)” or “SHIBUI(chic)” “KAKKOII(cool)” styles at pop culture festivals as well. And I’m currently planning to write a song for an international movie about Japan.

7.   Horyou’s tagline is dream, inspire and act. What do these words mean to you?

I think ACT is very important to make our dreams come true. Pursuing our dreams would INSPIRE others to take an action. We can always DREAM how we want to be. If we ACT, DREAM will become reality, our dreams will INSPIRE others to DREAM and ACT. Everything starts from dreaming, taking one action. We can inspire others to dream and act! Nothing is impossible.

Claudine Fischer, présidente de l'association en compagnie de partenaires à Porto Novo, Bénin.
Claudine Fischer, présidente de l’association, en compagnie de partenaires à Porto Novo, Bénin

Pont Universel, association suisse basée à Fribourg s’est donné deux missions: accompagner les personnes souffrant de difficultés psychosociales ainsi que participer à des actions ciblées d’aide au développement en Afrique de l’Ouest principalement au Togo et au Bénin.

L’association accompagne de manière individuelle des personnes basées en Suisse pour les aider à définir leurs compétences, identifier un projet et leur donner des clés pour le mettre en place. En parallèle, Pont Universel entreprend des projets d’aide au développement dans les pays sus-mentionnés et très régulièrement des étudiants suisses se rendent sur place pour participer à ces projets dans le cadre de travaux de master notamment.

Les projets de l’association sont principalement des projets médicaux et socioculturels comprenant par exemple des projets pour les femmes et familles ou des formations dans des domaines tels que l’agriculture ou l’éco-tourisme.

Dans le but de se faire connaître à une plus large échelle et bénéficier soutien, l’association organise deux événements à Fribourg la première semaine du mois de mars.

« Ces événements sont aussi l’occasion de commencer un partenariat durable avec Marc Alexandre Oho Bambe, écrivain, chanteur et parrain de l’association » nous explique Claudine Fischer, présidente de l’association. En effet, « Pont Universel a pour but d’organiser dans le futur des ateliers d’écritures ponctuels dans son centre d’accueil. Ces événements marquent donc le début d’une aventure » continue-t-elle.

Marc Alexandre Oho Bambe animera un atelier d’écriture le mercredi 2 mars de 15h à 18h à LivrEchange à Fribourg. Un endroit plein de sens aux yeux de l’association car représentant la diversité culturelle.Il est en effet possible d’y trouver des livres dans plus de 240 langues différentes afin de promouvoir la diversité linguistique et culturelle des différentes populations. La bibliothèque met aussi un accent tout particulier sur un sujet très actuel : l’intégration des migrants.

Spectacle de Marc Alexandre Oho Bambe le vendredi  4 mars.
Spectacle de Marc Alexandre Oho Bambe le vendredi 4 mars

Le vendredi 4 mars, Marc Alexandre se produira aussi sur scène à LivrEchange. Il y présentera « Le Chant des Possibles », un livre en live. De nombreux autres artistes du canton de Fribourg seront aussi présents pour l’accompagner et soutenir l’association, notamment Guy Sansonnens, troubadour fribourgeois avec de nombreuses années de métier derrière lui. L’entrée est libre mais un chapeau vous attendra à la sortie si vous souhaitez soutenir l’association dans ses projets ! Juste avant le spectacle,à 19h30, une surprise attendra les participants de l’atelier d’écriture du mercredi. Il dédicacera aussi son livre « Le Chant Des Possibles », récompensé par le Prix Paul Verlaine de l’Académie française 2015, à partir de 17h à la Librairie Payot Fribourg.

L’association espère vous voir nombreux lors de ces deux événements ! ☺

Pour plus d’informations sur le travail de Pont Universel, veuillez consulter leur page Horyou ou leur site internet.

Ecrit par Laurie Martin

Mauren Brodbeck

Written By Amma Aburam

There is no better way to describe Mauren Brodbeck than as a bold, multifaceted artist. From paintings, collages and photography to acting and singing, there is no artistic avenue she has not explored and mastered. The Horyou team had the opportunity to attend one of her shows in Geneva last month. We caught up with her to ask about her creative process and how she lives to Dream, Act and Inspire.

Is being such a multifaceted artist a dream come true for you?

I have always loved music, visual art, drawings, collages, photography and cinema, so, yes, it is. I always loved these means of expression because they allow you to pick the “tool” that fits exactly what you want to express. The tool translates the theme. The idea for me is to be multisensational by creating a unique universe. Performing, as seen in my last exposition, represents the unified energy of music, visual art, drawing, collages, photography and cinema, reinforced by the presence of the public. The exchange of energy is palpable in a live performance, something you don’t get with paintings, for example.

It seems you are inspired by so many things. To you, what is inspiration at its best?

My ultimate inspiration is identity. Our rapport with the world around us, the contrast of our urban spaces in comparison to our physical beings, how as individuals we have created a mass culture. I’m also fascinated by identity through portraits, specifically adolescence as it a delicate time where we become ourselves or rather lose ourselves. My photos are an attempt to highlight the multiple faces of identity.

Original artwork by Mauren Brodbeck
Original artwork by Mauren Brodbeck

How do you transition from handcrafted art to performing?

There is a strong link between the two, but it is not always an obvious one. For my series Flowers, I took photos of flowers individually and created a mesh of colour palettes. In my performance, the link is found in the colours of the setting, the content and the songs that borrow elements from the initial work. Even though the link is not obvious, we find the same essence, and through song, for example, I can put words on a painting and describe exactly what it was meant to express.

You just joined Horyou, the Social Network for Social Good, which gathers citizens of the world. What does to Dream, Inspire and Act mean to you?

Horyou represents everything that I do, which is why I joined the platform. It is my way of thinking – sharing so that everyone who sees my work is inspired to dream and to act as well. Ultimately, through my work, I want to inspire people to act on their dreams – inspire them to push and go further, to dig and to take their dreams and live through them. I want to be a doorway for people to reach that level in themselves. What helped me is knowing that what I do is for others. The ultimate goal in life is to enjoy it, and if we really express that, it inspires others to do the same.

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