Global Music student: My vision and my dreams are at the center of my curriculum

Read an interview with Global Music student Loïca (Ángela Valenzuela) at the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki.

Riikka Hänninen

Watch Loïca's video interview

Why is the Global Music Department important and meaningful for you?

As an international musician from Chile, I found in the Global Music Department a supportive community of people, who are so generous, not only musically, but also just as humans. Being so far away from home, I discovered a fertile space to be a student, musician, and friend. It grounds me to belong to a diverse community. 

In Global Music, I feel I’m recognised as an artist. My vision, my dreams are at the center of my curriculum. I have the freedom to go towards that vision and get all the support from mentors, teachers, and friends to move forward in my artistic identity, in its discovery.

As a climate activist and singer-songwriter, I feel that finally, I have found a place where I can combine these interests. If I were to go to any other music school, my interests in the climate and the environment would not be an integral part of my program. It would be just something else that I can take care of in my free time.

But here, I can include all of this and make it a part of my artistic identity and work. So, I feel I’m moving forward with who I am as a person. I don’t have to divide myself into different areas of interest but I’m a person as a whole.

What do you feel you gain from being in an intercultural environment?

We come together here from all continents and you start learning about different music traditions, approaches, and theories that are not only Western music. It’s freeing and liberating to realize that there’s no right and wrong, but just a myriad of nuances.

There are so many ways to see music and we have to be respectful of those differences. Instead of focusing on what’s better or more valuable in society, we celebrate and nurture the differences because, as humans, our expression is so diverse depending on the region.

Do you feel that engaging in intercultural dialogue and collaboration has any wider impacts on the world around us?

Intercultural dialogue and communication especially in music have a big impact in the world. What we’re doing in this department is collaboration and making bridges instead of divides in music.

This approach to music has an influence on me as a human being and how I relate to the world as well. Each musician brings with them their musical identity and culture, a whole story of where they come from. You start learning more about different regions’ diversity, problematics, and histories. That brings you closer to an understanding of how diverse the world is.

As well as being open and understanding within a group, I start being more understanding with myself, at least that’s the challenge. Being a kind voice to myself as well as to others, that’s where the domino effect starts. It expands to the world. In every scope of life, you start having an influence that is bringing light to the world through your voice, through your music-making.

As we find ourselves in times of crisis it’s even more important that we have this creative space for people to imagine the future we want to live in, and how we want to reinvent our societies after the pandemic, for example.

We’re already feeling the impacts of the climate crisis as well and I feel that music also plays a key role in bringing people together. What’s that voice that we can uplift with music? What are the stories of people? What’s the world we want to create?

I think as musicians we have a key role in making a difference in the world. It’s a lot of work and I’m excited about it.

Who?

Loïca (Ángela Valenzuela) is a Chilean-born singer-songwriter, climate activist, and Movement Organizer at Greenpeace International. She is currently based in Finland where she studies Global Music at the Sibelius Academy of the University of Arts Helsinki.

In her compositions and singing, Loïca seeks to raise urgent questions regarding the multiple environmental and social crises of our time, as well as to invite our collective imagination to reinvent itself.

You can follow Loïca on Spotify and on Instagram (@loicamusic)

Read more interviews with Global Music students