August, 2011 

To Whom It May Concern: 
There are few artists who are equally as at ease in performance as they are in teaching students. During Libana’s one week residency, my students were fortunate to experience both the artistry and the highly developed pedagogy of a world-class ensemble. Libana has left an indelible and unique impression on the students at the American Embassy School, New Delhi, and I would highly recommend Libana to any other school who values world music and cultural/social mindfulness. 

Musically, Libana brought a vibrancy and passion for world music that is infectious, and evoked within the students not just a renewed sense of appreciation for the different musics of the world, but also a more profound curiosity about how music and music makers are the same and yet different throughout the world. The women’s performances for students were inspiring as well as inspired. As an educator in an international setting and as a musician, I appreciate the dedication with which this group of women goes about understanding culture and the culture of songs. Their deep cultural understanding is something that the Libana members are highly successful in conveying during performances and when teaching. 

In the classroom, the women, led in their educational endeavors by Marytha Paffrath, immediately engaged the students in active music making and cultural exploration through song. During the week, students at AES were asked to do so many of the things that musicians around the world do: sing, play instruments, create movements and respond to the music they heard and performed. Consequently, students came away from the week with a richer level of understanding of what musicians do, and what music teaches us about others and ourselves. 

The highlight of the weeklong residency was a collaborative program during which students in all three school divisions performed with the women of Libana. Students in elementary school performed an energetic and rhythmically exciting drum piece, song and dance from West Africa. Students in the middle and high school choirs performed choral pieces from Eastern Europe with careful attention paid to the stylistic accuracy of their performance. In addition to including our students in their performance, Libana wowed the international audience with their repertoire of songs from around the world. 

Conveying such a powerful experience as Libana’s residency at AES through words is an impossible task. Spending a week with these artist/culture bearers brought so much that is beyond words to our school, and it is with great appreciation to the members of Libana that I recommend their excellent artistry and teaching to any school that may be considering inviting this world class group for any kind of performance or educational residency. 

Douglas Beam 
Primary Grades Music Specialist 
American Embassy School, New Delhi, India