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Archive for the tag “Playing For Change”

playing (great music) for change

If you have just returned from interplanetary travel and don’t know about Playing for Change, do yourself a favor and check them out. What they’re up to is “connecting the world through music”–and what beautiful and moving music it is. These are four personal favorites of the over 70 videos they’ve produced. I can hardly wait for the next CD to be released.

You can never ever have too much music!

episode 63: a change is gonna come

Live from Folsom Prison, the PFC Band at its most soulful.

episode 53: la tierra del olvido

Translates to “land of the forgotten.” 75 musicians from all over Colombia. Just amazing.

episode 49: satchita

A musical journey from Brazil to India (from the PFC2 CD). So joyful.

episode 38: imagine

John Lennon’s song around the world. Still gives me chills

redemption songs

The story begins with Mark Johnson—a Grammy Award-winning music producer and engineer—hurrying through a crowded New York City subway. All of a sudden, he hears two monks making music, playing and singing in a language he doesn’t understand. He walks toward them and becomes part of the ad hoc audience, 200 or so people who have stopped moving toward their individual destinations in order to cluster together and listen to the music. If it hasn’t occurred to him before, it hits him now that music is a way to bring people together.

Back home in Santa Monica, Johnson is walking along a street when he hears the voice of Roger Ridley, a street musician who performs regularly on the 3rd Street Promenade. Johnson retraces his steps to ask Ridley if he can record him—and then take the song around the world to overdub the tracks of other musicians. That is the birth of “Stand By Me,” as produced by Playing For Change.

After 10 years, there’s a documentary, Playing For Change: Peace Through Music; then a CD, Playing For Change: Songs Around the World; and still later another CD, PFC2. The Playing For Change Band is formed with musicians from the U.S., the Netherlands, Zimbabwe, the Congo, Italy, and South Africa. As Johnson & company take all of these songs around the world, PFC stops along the way to develop eight music schools (in South Africa, Ghana, Nepal, Rwanda, and Mali), and then creates Playing For Change Day, an annual event to unite people through music and raise money to develop more music schools and programs.

Roger Ridley dies in November 2005. But the story hasn’t come close to ending.

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You just never know the magnitude or the nature of the spark that could ignite—that could even change the world—through the simple act of creating something that’s meaningful in this moment only to you.

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