Playing for Change: Peace Through Music on WXXI-TV

Playing for Change: Peace Through Music on WXXI-TV

Fri, 03/19/2010 - 10:00pm

Pictured (l-r): Tenzin Ingsel, Tenzin Jamyang and Tenzin Jigme, Dharamsala, India.

Credit: Courtesy of Playing For Change

This exceptional musical collaboration is part of a global effort to inspire peace through music and to connect diverse musicians worldwide.

Playing for Change is a multimedia effort to unite musicians and vocalists from diverse parts of the globe while seeking to immerse audiences in a movement to inspire, connect and bring peace to the world through music. Using mobile audio/video units, technicians traveled the world, recording local musicians outdoors in towns and cities worldwide. In addition, musicians from all over the world are now brought together to perform benefit concerts that build music and art schools in communities in need.

A story of hope, struggle, perseverance and joy, PLAYING FOR CHANGE: PEACE THROUGH MUSIC airs Friday, March 19 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV (DT21.1/cable1011/cable11).

Grammy-winning producer/engineer Mark Johnson and his Playing For Change team traveled the globe with a single-minded passion to connect the world though music. Their ambitious journey took them from post-apartheid South Africa, through the ancient sites of the Middle East, to the remote beauty of the Himalayas and beyond. Using innovative mobile technology, they filmed and recorded more than 100 musicians, largely outdoors, in parks, plazas and promenades, in doorways, on cobblestone streets and amid hilly pueblos. Each captured performance created a new mix in which the artists essentially are all performing together, albeit hundreds or thousands of miles apart. PLAYING FOR CHANGE: PEACE THROUGH MUSIC is the story of this unparalleled international musical collaboration and its remarkable power of redemption.

Some of the magical moments include Ireland’s Omagh Community Youth Choir, comprising of a mixture of Catholic and Protestant teens, singing “Love Rescue Me,” written by U2 and Bob Dylan. The film begins with American street musicians Roger Ridley and Grandpa Elliott harmonizing with Clarence Bekker from the Netherlands amid an assembly of artists from Russia, Spain, Venezuela, France and Brazil on the Ben E. King/Leiber & Stoller classic “Stand by Me,” the video of which has already become an internet sensation.

Also included is an exhilarating version of the Bob Marley classic “War/No More Trouble.” This segment includes musicians from The Congo, Israel, India, Ireland, South Africa, the U.S., Zimbabwe and Ghana, along with Bono and Bob Marley.

Marley’s “One Love” proved to be an irresistible choice for the producers as well, who enlisted Keb’ Mo’ to sing with performers from India, Israel, Nepal, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Playing For Change has been one of 2009’s most unlikely and startling cultural phenomenons. Hear Music’s two-disc CD/DVD Playing For Change – Songs Around the World, released on April 28th, stunned the music industry, selling more than 26,000 copies in its first week and landing at #10 on Billboard’s Top 200 Pop chart. This remarkable and unpredicted popular response has been driven by more than 20 million video hits, countless blogs and pure viral communication between fans and followers. The project’s deep emotional resonance, combined with the muscle of the internet and word-of-mouth has struck a profound and enduring chord worldwide

PLAYING FOR CHANGE songs include:
• “Stand By Me”
• “When the Saints Go Marching In”
• “Louisiana 1927”
• “Love Rescue Me”
• “Don’t Worry”
• “Sayit Sheni”
• “Thula Mama”
• “Umshado”
• “Victim Train”
• “Bint El Shalabiya”
• “War/No More Trouble”
• “Rachuvasmsa Sudha”
• “Tumko Dekha To Yeh Kyahaal Aaya”
• “One Love”
• “Better Man”

About Playing for Change
Playing for Change began a decade ago, the brainchild of Grammy-winning music producer and engineer Mark Johnson. In 1998, Johnosn teamed with producer Whitney Kroenke Burditt to create the award-winning Playing for Change: A Cinematic Discovery of Street Music (2004). The relationship between Playing for Change and Hear Music (the joint venture between Concord and Starbucks) was facilitated by legendary television producer Norman Lear, owner of Concord Music Group.

Seeing great need in many of the locations where the crew filmed and recorded inspired PFC to establish the Playing for Change Foundation, a distinct non-profit entity that provides resources — including facilities, technology, musical instruments and education — to musicians and their communities. The Foundation’s first project, the Ntonga Music School in South Africa, was completed in January 2009. Its second, the Mehlo Arts Center in Johannesburg, will open later in 2009.

Playing for Change is headquartered in Los Angeles.

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