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Cablegate: Request for Rhythm Road Programming

VZCZCXRO1419
RR RUEHCHI
DE RUEHGO #0759 2690920
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 250920Z SEP 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY RANGOON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8210
INFO RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 2714
RUEHHI/AMEMBASSY HANOI 1987
RUEHPF/AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH 0475
RUEHVN/AMEMBASSY VIENTIANE 2301
RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI 1857

UNCLAS RANGOON 000759

SIPDIS

STATE FOR ECA/PE/C/CU (ROBERT KEITH, COLOMBIA BARROSSE); EAP/PD
(KARL STOLTZ, JENNIFER GALT, SABIN HINTON)
POSTS FOR PAO AND CAO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OEXC SCUL
SUBJECT: REQUEST FOR RHYTHM ROAD PROGRAMMING

REF: STATE 90853

1. Post wishes to participate in the Rhythm Road - American Music
Abroad Program in 2009. Post's first choice is an urban music group
and second choice is zydeco. Post can program the group for five
days, preferably during the months of January or February (Burma's
dry season) in the country's two largest cities, Rangoon and
Mandalay.

2. This program would advance Post's MSP goal of "Spreading the
Word," in which we promote American culture and values in Burma with
the aim of encouraging free speech and a more pluralistic society.
The program would give impetus to the growing number of Burmese
youth and popular music groups who look to the United States as a
model for their own futures, and it would also touch upon many
aspects of their restricted lives.

3. The target audience for a Rhythm Road program is the younger
generation of Burmese who are eager to experience American culture
first-hand but have limited opportunities because of heavy
censorship by the government. Programming in Mandalay would break
new ground for the Embassy's Jefferson Center reading room, which
opened in February 2008 at the site of the former U.S. Consulate.
To date, we have yet to host a significant cultural event at this
site.

4. Possible venues in Rangoon include the American Center, the
International School of Yangon, the Myanmar Institute of Theology,
and the American Club. In Mandalay, the aforementioned Jefferson
Center would host.

5. Rangoon successfully hosted Rhythm Road performer Maya Azucena
in April 2008. The concerts in Rangoon were extremely popular with
our target audience and left a strong impact on both the performer
and her audience. Her concerts here followed a long tradition,
going back five decades, of American musicians who came to Burma,
including former Jazz Ambassadors Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington,
Count Basie and Charlie Byrd. We look forward to continuing this
tradition and promoting U.S. culture and values through another
musical group traveling via the Rhythm Road.

DINGER

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