Documentary Following Professor Roberta King's Research Journey to Air on ABC

“(un)Common Sounds” documentary airs on ABC affiliates beginning Sunday, November 10

Dr. Roberta King

A musical documentary about building bridges of peaceful communication through music premieres on ABC television affiliates beginning on Sunday, November 10. Airing will continue on ABC affiliates nationwide for the next three months.

The documentary called un(Common) Sounds, follows the conversations and performances of a group of 16 Christian and Muslim scholars and musicians at concerts in Beirut, Lebanon and Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Dr. Roberta King, Associate Professor of Communication and Ethnomusicology at Fuller Seminary; and Dr. Sooi Ling Tan, Research Associate at the seminary, developed the concept for the scholarly sessions along with musical performances that highlighted their research.

"At a time when we are battered by headlines about violence and bloodshed, especially from Pakistan, Nigeria, Kenya, and other countries, we wanted to provide hopeful stories about Muslims and Christians who are communicating and working toward peace," said Dr. King. "When words fail, music can bridge even the deepest of rifts between us."

Attending workshops by day, the scholars and musicians from Egypt, Malaysia, Libya, Turkey, and the United States, studied the ancient roots of their faith and music cultures. Attending concerts by night, the scholars and musicians also performed music for each other, creating songs from their own religious traditions in styles that included world music, punk rock, folk, and classical Arabic sounds.

The documentary springs from a project at Fuller Seminary's Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts, called "Songs of Peace and Reconciliation." Funded by the Henry Luce Foundation, the project was designed to connect Christian and Muslim scholars and musicians to study, discuss, and reflect on the contribution of music and the arts in fostering sustainable peace. At the evening concerts, they also performed music and songs that built commonness between them. In addition to conferences, the project funded the hour-long (un)Common Sounds documentary and a companion book to be released in 2014.

The one-hour documentary took three months of shooting, said film director and producer, Craig Detweiler, who worked with a small movie crew from the U.S., as well as local film crews in Lebanon and Indonesia.

"(un)Common Sounds is loaded with beautiful imagery, and buoyed by the graciousness of the people we worked with along the way," said Detweiler. In Lebanon, the Classical Arabic Music Ensemble was led by a Christian on violin and featured Muslim musicians, said Detweiler. "They performed ancient music from both Muslims and Christians that sounded remarkably similar--because both feature classical Arabic musical roots."

"In Indonesia, we saw the performances of a women's choir comprised of Muslims and Christians. A renowned world music group, Saurasama, included both Muslims and Christians performing songs that celebrated Abraham, Jesus, and Mohammad," Detweiler shared. At the close of one of the concerts, Saurasama led Christian and Muslim scholars and musicians, in singing "We Share," a new song developed around the theme of the conference.

"I was so impressed by The Mahad, four young Muslim high school students who are a punk rock band," said Detweiler. "The Mahad band reminded me of the Irish band, U2. Like U2, the band comes from a country riddled by violence, yet, they are committed to writing songs that bring people together. They want to 'rock for peace.'"

"I'm so thrilled to have been a part of this project," said Dr. King. "I was often inspired to think about Jesus' challenge and calling to us, 'blessed are the peacemakers.' This is our hope and our prayer."

For more information about the Songs of Peace and Reconciliation Project:

Airings for this Sunday (11/10) include (more may be added):

WTNH Hartford & New Haven 11:00am
KGUN Tucson (Nogales) 9:00am
WSIL Paducah-C.Gird-Hargb-Mt VN 10:00am
WJCL Savannah, GA 11:00am
WQAD Davenport-R. Island-Moline 10:00am
S-WGTQ Traverse City-Cadillac 11:00am
WGTU Traverse City-Cadillac 10:00am
WVII Bangor 11:00am
NHQA Quincy-Hannibal-Keokuk 10:00am
WBUP Marquette 11:00am
KTWO Casper-Riverton 9:00am
NLWY Cheyenne-Scottsbluf-Strlng 9:00am
GBKB Alpena 11:00am
WPRU Puerto Rico 11:00am
KIVI Boise 11:00am
KAPP Yakima/Pasco/Richland 11:00am
WEMS Cleveland 2:00pm
WISN Milwaukee 1:00pm
WPBF West Palm Beach/Ft. Pierce 1:00pm
WBAY Green Bay-Appleton 12:30pm
KSAW Twin Falls 12:30pm
WHAS Louisville 2:00pm
WCIV Charleston 12:30pm
WTVG Toledo 3:00pm
NBSW Monterey/Salinas 11:00am
WXOW La Crosse/Eau Claire 2:00pm
KSWO Wichita Falls/Lawton 1:00pm
KYUR Anchorage 11:00am
KATN Fairbanks 11:00am
KJUD Juneau 11:00am
WJET Erie 2:00pm
KCAU Sioux City 1:00pm
KAIT Jonesboro 12:00pm

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