February 23, 2021

America's Songbird Myrna Clayton Highlights African-American Connection

State Department Spotlights “Cultural Ambassador” Myrna Clayton During Black History Month.

At a time of heightened concern over systemic racism and violence in the U.S., an inspiring series of events exuding cultural acceptance and peace culminated in the release of the song, “We Are One” during Black History Month.

The "We Are One" video captures an original song created and recorded in Namibia (Southwest Africa) featuring a collaboration of American and Namibian artists, along with photos/footage taken during the U.S. State Department's Arts Envoy Cultural Exchange tour of "The Myrna Clayton Experience" for the U.S. Embassy in Namibia. The song features five languages: Oshiwambo, American-English, Otjiherero, Khoe-Khoe Gowab, and Afrikaans.

The “We Are One” release is timed to coincide with the U.S. State Department’s spotlight of “Cultural Ambassador” Myrna Clayton and her band (“The Myrna Clayton Experience”) through its Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). The highly acclaimed American touring group from Atlanta with “America’s Songbird” Myrna Clayton helped to foster the recording opportunity, and became a pivotal musical performing impetus for the song’s recording in Namibia.

“It was a thrill for us to record with area-based professionals in Namibia,” acknowledges Myrna. “It is an experience we will never forget. I want to give a special thank you to Geniene Veii at the U.S. Embassy in Namibia. Without her help, I don't know if we would be able to have completed this very unique project. Geniene and her team were able to accomplish in a few weeks getting all four languages that were sung in ‘We Are One’ translated. This became a serious challenge for us because no one person knew the others’ languages.”

The message conveyed through the hybrid of Namibian-American music and lyrics is that we are all one people sharing this world together -- that we all enjoy the same things: smiling - dancing - playing (i.e., sharing our collective gifts/talents). And, since we are more alike than we are different, the music encourages, let’s live together in peace.

“We Are One” also conveys a core value of ECA’s mission: "To increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange that assist in the development of peaceful relations."

“It has been an honor for me and for the members of ‘The Myrna Clayton Experience’ to perform in exchanging cultures as Americans around the world, through the U.S. State Department,” Myrna explains further. “Many of these audiences have had little exposure to attending live performances of American music by Americans, in their country.

“Yet, it is a whole other joy to experience, as we did in Namibia -- a collaborative, performing and recording session with our fellow musicians/singers, within their country. They brought another cultural expression to the recording, yet one with so many tones and rhythms that spoke to our collective souls.

“It is a richness that simply cannot be fully expressed in words. We pray that those who listen to this recording of ‘We Are One’ will get some sense of the joy and spirit of oneness that we felt while we were making this song together with our brothers and sisters of Namibia. It felt like the beginning of a true global connection.”

For more information about Myna Clayton, her band “The Myrna Clayton Experience”, and Myrna’s nonprofit work, visit: www.myrnaclayton.com and www.SHOWAbility.org.

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