′Your song for one world′ contest kicks off | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 22.02.2017
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'Your song for one world' contest kicks off

The international song contest for students "Your song for one world," a means of transmitting the message of how global development concerns us all that was started by Germany's president, has kicked off.

"From the tropics we import mango, and in the evenings we dance tango. ..."  That's the opening refrain of a song written by 13-year-old Lea Ritter. In 2015, the song catapulted her into the 25 top contenders of the song contest "Your song for one world."

"We consume lots of things imported from other countries: chocolate, fruit, cloth, music, fairytales and, of course, the instrument I play - a ukulele from Hawai'i," said Lea, describing her inspiration behind the winning song she performed on stage two years ago. Her objective, she said, was to show that the world belongs to all people living in it. "Everybody can contribute something to make it more beautiful and colorful."

Lena Ritter plays the ukulele (P. Meinhold)

Lea Ritter, 13 years old, won the contest in 2015

Strengthening global development at school

Development policy, globalization, one world - often, these slogans are bandied about without any specificity. What they really describe is something of a binder, one which unites people from around the globe. A mantle to be filled with life by young people. Begun in 2003 when former German president Johannes Rau called on children and young people to address topics surrounding global, this contest for schools takes place every fall. Entries include not only songs but also texts, photographs, films, works of art, theater plays and digital works.

Profile picture of Katja Winter (privat)

Katja Winter is committed to the project

"What's special about this school contest is the large amount of creative freedom," explains Katja Winter of Engagement Global who heads the projects. "The creative approach to development topics make them accessible." With the 'song contest' element added in 2015, the aim is to strengthen the musical component. It was carried out for the first time for the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development by Engagement Global, a service for development initiatives supported by the German government. 

While the officially titled "school contest of the federal president concerning development policy" addresses teachers and schools, the international song contest "Your song for one world," addresses young people from ages 10 to 25 from around the world. "That also enables youths outside the school system to participate in the contest," explains Katja Winter. Soloists, bands, choirs and music fans alike can participate.

Special prizes for Africa and South America

From February 22 onwards, young people from around the world can submit their musical proposals. "At first, experts predicted that a new music contest would have a hard time and said that we should rather reckon with fewer proposals," remembers Katja Winter. But "Your song for one world" was well received almost immediately. In 2015, more than 1,300 young people participated, submitting roughly 200 songs of which 13 percent had international involvement.

In addition to the main prize, two regional prizes are handed out for Africa and South America. The song texts must focus on development themes concerning these regions. What counts a lot is cooperation with musicians from these regions, or the development of shared ideas originating from international trips.

 Winners of Germany's Song Contest (M. Nadj-Torma)

Ezé Wendtoin (l) took home the Africa prize and André Fischer (r) won first at last year's contest

Assistance from well-known German musicians

The first prize is a professional music video that will also accompany the school contest in the fall as its hymn. In addition, the 23 best songs will be part of the "One World Album." The Berlin-based music initiative "Kreuzberger Musikalische Aktion" will be in charge of studio production. The initiative supports equal opportunities for all, and promotes musical projects for youths from disadvantaged families. The winners will be supported by Adel Tawil, Fargo, Johnny Strange and Jamie-Lee Kriewitz. Whoever feels insecure about his or her musical talents, shouldn't worry, says Katja Winter: "A melody and a song text suffice."

The deadline for uploading application materials online is June 20, 2017. Applicants should register at: www.eineweltsong.de.


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