"It was a thesis really. An idea that was something of a given and had become a cliché by 1990. The theory was that the common language of the world was not Mandarin or Spanish - much less `English’ - but music. Music was understandable to anyone and everyone regardless of culture and where you were from or existed now. Tunes were the Lingua Franca, and notes the structure of a universal culture that transcended the merely local. So what did that sound like once removed from its cultural strictures or stylistic ghettos? What happened when the rock star and the famous cellist musically met the other scales, modalities, tones and melodic structures of, well, everybody else? The theory was that it would work. If music was indeed as they said, then it must. But would it?
There is a type of nerdish musical geek always lurking in the rock ‘n roll weeds. They are usually highly skilled, extremely thoughtful and seek out in their own music or through others a way forward (or back - often of equal value in music) to a newer or different expression. If only for themselves. Some wish to experiment just with a single chord. Others with the galaxy of options that music offers; others just think up tunes or songs or whatever. And that happens everywhere and all the time. But in England there is a small coterie of experimenters who are also brilliant pop writers. They write and produce and play and sing hit records and are very good indeed at doing that, but they also seem perennially dissatisfied with JUST doing that, satisfying as it may be for a moment. They are intrigued that the most ‘primitive’ sounds or noises can evoke either precisely the same senses as Bach or Nirvana or something recognisable but ‘unfelt’ before. Something always felt to be there, yet somehow maddeningly out of reach; shimmering like a musical mirage on the edge of near. It was this bunch who turned away from ’normal’; instead ripping open the latest computer or electro-whatever instrument, ignoring the instruction manual, stabbing and jabbing away at it to see what noises it made, sucking them up, making a couple of hits and chucking the thing out again and deciding it would be a laugh to send a bit of music off into the world on its own voyage of discovery like a musical HMS Beagle, and see what came back. Tapes were passed from musician to musician like a Chinese whisper, but where there was no wrong answer. No distortion of the original notion. They listened to what someone unknown to them had put down before and spun their own golden threads onto it, or around it, or from it. Turned out that yeah, the theory was right. You listened, chuckled to yourself at the recognition of something way beyond language or even really sense and the brain says: “Yeah I’m on it, this is what I’m getting from it and I’m taking it over here: now what do you make of that? Oh yeah, cool, I gotcha dude, here’s me coming back at you.” It took a while. The tapes came home and mad music tumbled out in a coherence of action, beat, melody, tone, scansion, structure, lyric and the rest. Nothing seemed weird. Everything kinda ‘fitted’. Instruments and scales forced their odd ways into the narrative without crashing or hijacking the party. The music had come from everywhere. It was made by dozens of people from dozens of peoples. It sounded great. It sounded so....human."
A message from Howard Jones - We Will Meet Again
"Hi Everyone It was lovely to see the video from One World One Voice once again. It brought back so many precious memories. I remember Rupert Hine phoning me about the project and I said I think I’ve got a song that could work. I was so excited about it I drove to Roop’s house and played him the demo. I must admit I shed a few tears when I finally heard what had happened to the song on its journey around the world with amazing contributions from Dave Gilmour, Bob Geldof, Terence Trent D’Arby, the Leningrad Symphony Orchestra, Hossam Ramzy, ....Wow! At this time of physical isolation the One World One Voice project reminds me that we are all global citizens and that my hope is that we are entering the era of “We” rather than “Me” I’m sure we will meet again and be able to hug our families and friends and welcome in a new era where the people and the planet are cherished. Best wishes,Howard Jones"
Stephen W Tayler
Click play below to hear a voice message from Stevie Nicks
"I remember the first time I met Rupert, we were placed side by side at The Ivor Novello Awards. He was already sitting at the table when I arrived…He stood up, introduced himself and then waited for me to take my seat before taking his own. I liked him immediately... I remember thinking the following day ‘what an interesting man, he was’...He cared on a global scale about what was happening in the world and our role in making it a better place for future generations. He was a forward thinking human being….a rare breed indeed.I was blessed to have known him and be able to call him ‘my mate Roop’. You may be out of sight Rupert, but you’re never out of mind and One World One Voice 30th Anniversary is a fitting last project to pay tribute to your tenacity, expertise, team spirit and infinite creativity; what better way to remind us that our planet needs protecting and that Friends of the Earth is a worthy cause.Love & Light. Kim (Appleby) x
Neville Farmer. Photo credit: David Rice
It’s hard to believe that it was 30 years ago when I sat in the control room of Nomis Studios and watched Rupert Hine and Stephen W Tayler mixing ‘One World One Voice’ with the assistance of Ben Darlow and Mark Wyllie. Rupert and Steve were exhausted after weeks of dragging their portable DAT studio around the world, capturing musical snippets, phrases and verses to add to Kevin Godley’s dream of a unifying global musical chain letter.
There was no broadband then, no simple audio/visual uploading and downloading across the continents to gather the elements. It took machines, tapes, patience and skill… and tens of thousands of sleepless miles. Finally back in London, with the huge console before them, they looked shattered. Yet, in all the years I knew Rupert, Steve and later, Kevin, I know they see it as a highlight of their highly illuminated lives, a legacy. And it is one we can share again today. Three decades later, both the music and the video seem as fresh and exciting as it did back then. The faith Kevin, Rupert, Steve and the dozens of musicians involved held, that the universal language of music could meld all nations, cultures and genres into one joyful, thrilling ensemble, was proven in those exhausting but uplifting weeks and honed in those days at Nomis. And it is as relevant as it was then, too. The human world is even more divided than it was back then, at a time when it has never been more important to unite. We are destroying our home as we squabble amongst ourselves. The loss of our friend Rupert last year was a sad reminder of the fragility of all life. He was a very special human being on this very special planet and we owe it to him, and moreover ourselves and those who follow, to wake up and do something, to speak as One World with One Voice. Neville Farmer