Wow… what an incredible trip, an experience of a lifetime. This summer we had the honor of representing American music as part of the U.S. Arts Envoys Program, which “shares the best of the U.S. arts community with the world.” As cultural ambassadors, we traveled to Azerbaijan in the Caucus Mountains bordering Iran, Armenia, Russia and the Caspian Sea.
For all of June, we visited various cities and regions of Azerbaijan, where 83% of youth list rock and pop music as their favorite genre. We had the privilege of meeting many young Azeri musicians who are hard at work building a music community in the capital of Baku. We performed to thousands of people in cities across this beautiful country; for Azeris it was their first time seeing live American music. This trip will forever be an institution in our memories.
Some of the highlights:
– Being escorted to a show in Sheki by the Harley Davidson Club of Azerbaijan
– Appearing on Salam Azerbaijan (the equivalent to “Good Morning America”), broadcast to millions of Azeris
– Pete and Casey delivering a special message in Azerbaijani (pardon their poor pronunciation)
– Recording a rendition of the famed Azeri song by Yuxu “Yezerin Sahilinda” (literally “Caspian Sea”) along with local musicians. Have a listen here.
– Teaching a Azeri student how to play “Heart and Soul” on the keyboard
– Meeting the U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Richard Morningstar