“Playing for Change” unites artists across the globe

03.13.09 9 years ago


Already a Youtube sensation, the music of “Playing for Change-Songs Around the World” is coming to your neighborhood.
The project features artists like U2’s Bono and Keb’ Mo’ singing with local musicians around the globe. Playing for Change is the creation of Grammy-winning producer/engineer Mark Johnson. Ten years ago, he and his team started traveling the world, capturing street performers, local musicians, choirs-basically anyone with a song in their heart-singing certain songs about love, peace and change. His travels took him to South Africa, the Middle East, Ireland and beyond.

One of the songs, the classic “Stand by Me,” features American street musicians singing with artists on the streets of Russia, Spain, Venezuela, France and Brazil. That one is already a Youtube phenom. We know, we got it sent to us on Facebook Monday from someone in Nebraska. It’s an uplifting, beautiful video of the uniting spirit of music. More than 7 million people have already viewed it.
In other clips, Keb’ Mo’ sings Bob Marley’s classic “One Love” with performers in India, Nepal, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Bono performs with musicians from Ireland, South Africa, U.S., Zimbabwe, Ghana, Isreal and India.

A CD/DVD capturing this worldwide effort comes out April 28 on Hear Music, the label created by Starbucks and Concord Music Group.
But before that release, many of the musicians featured on “Playing for Change” will be part of a five-city U.S. tour that starts March 20 at SXSW Music Conference in Austin. Among the other songs performed are Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” Tracy Chapman’s “Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution,” and Peter Gabriel’s “Biko.”
In an effort to give back to many of the needy communities, Johnson bowed Playing for Change Foundation. The foundation’s first project opened two months ago-the Ntonga Music School in South Africa. A second school will open in Jonannesburg later this year.
The dates are:

March 20: SXSW, Austin, Texas
March 23: Knitting Factory, Los Angeles
March 24: Slims, San Francisco
March 25: The Showbox at the Market, Seattle
March 31: Highline Ballroom, New York

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