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Keys of Change

Photo credits: Eloise Campbell
Classical music in the Ecuadorian Amazon!

Nuevo Mundo Expeditions met Greek pianist Panos Karan in March 2011, just before he started a never before attempted journey, both literal and metaphorical, to share the power and the beauty of classical music with remote communities in the Amazon basin. Carrying a portable electric piano and two speakers, his goal is to navigate the entire length of the Amazon River, from the Napo River headwaters in Coca, Ecuador to Belem, Brazil to play 88 piano recitals — one for each piano key — for as many villages and indigenous communities as can be reached.

We were excited and amazed by this very particular project and decided to collaborate with Panos and his charity Keys of Change. So, in November 2011, Panos Karan and his team came to Quito to embark on an unforgettable journey in the Amazon basin that started in Coca, Ecuador and ended in Manaus, Brazil. This time our guests on board the Manatee Amazon Explorer riverboat accompanied Keys of Change in its journey to play music for the local communities along the vessel’s ports of call along the Napo River.

Then, in May 2012 the Manatee Amazon Explorer and Nuevo Mundo Expeditions sponsored Keys of Change again in its third trip to Ecuador to again share classical music with the indigenous people. These special departures featured our amazing nature spots, such as the Yasuní National Park, Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, Limoncocha Biological Reserve, and the famous Parrot Clay Licks, plus exclusive piano recitals with Panos Karan on board every evening — needless to say, it was the perfect combination of nature and culture!

The Nuevo Mundo Expeditions’ team is thrilled to support this project and will continue to do so in the future. We invite you to watch our videos from these two memorable trips.

About Keys of Change

Keys of Change is a young charity fund formed by individuals of different backgrounds that deeply believe that playing music can make this world a better place. It aims to promote and establish musical education and its benefits in remote areas around the world. Playing music is one of the simplest yet strongest ways for individuals everywhere to build bridges for peace and generate a positive social change. The charity strives to empower children and young people to improve their lives through creativity, education and music. Keys of Change is working together with the Condor Trust for Education in Ecuador to support several primary school children in the Amazon basin, so they can continue their secondary schooling. The organization is also planning to organize a series of volunteer projects to teach music and English to these and other students in Coca and along the Napo River in Ecuador, and in Peru.

About Panos Karan

Panos Karan was born in Greece, but he has lived in London for over 10 years. He received his musical education at the Royal Academy of Music (BMus and MMus). He has performed in South Bank Centre, St. Petersburg Hermitage Theatre, Valencia Palau de la Musica, Athens Megaron Recital Hall and Carnegie Hall, as well as other smaller venues. In 2007 he played the complete cycle of Beethoven Piano Concerti and he recently recorded Rachmaninov 3rd Piano Concerto. Panos speaks Greek, English, Spanish, German and Russian, and he is learning Mandarin. He dances Argentine tango and he is passionate about Ashtanga Yoga. Panos cares deeply about music and he cannot imagine a world without it. He is convinced that this type of music can make the world a better place and determined to go out there and be part of the process. Therefore, in January 2011, Panos founded Keys of Change with the motto: “Can music change the world? We believe it can.”

Panos performed at the Teatro Nacional Sucre in Quito, Ecuador in December 2012 to help raise funds for his various projects.  He plans to hold another concert in May 2014. To learn more, and even with the possibility of being part of this exciting on-going project that brings music, culture and travel together, please visit www.keysofchange.org / www.panoskaran.com.
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