Cowboys and Indians: The International Stage
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There are countless cultural innovations and popular products recognized around the world as uniquely American. Whether with the blues, the Big Mac, tailfins on Cadillacs, or the legacy of space travel, the United States continually astounds and, from time to time, confounds the world with its prolific cultural productivity. Things American are everywhere, at least anywhere a radio wave can reach a receiver or a satellite signal can touch a television set, and two of the most ubiquitous Yankee exports are the mythical cowboy of the Wild West and country music. Bob Livingston, an accomplished Austin musician, has helped to shape these singular institutions into an effective tool of American diplomacy. Since 1986, Livingston has toured extensively in South Asia and the Middle East as an emissary of the State Department of the United States presenting a musical program he calls "Cowboys and Indians." He describes his mission (with his tongue only partially in his cheek) as an attempt "to achieve world peace through cowboy songs and yodeling." Livingston’s ambitious crusade has touched the lives of thousands around the world by offering a refreshing and holistic view of American culture. His program, "Cowboys and Indians," is a testament to the practical and positive contribution that American music can make to a deeply troubled world.