Playing For Change Doc Headed to PBS


Musical travels across
the globe for peace and good will to men.


By Blurt Staff


In the new issue of BLURT, just hitting newsstands, we’ve
got a feature on Playing For Change project which has been turned into a CD/DVD
set. Playing For Change – Songs Around the World, was released on April
28th by Hear Music.


backstory: Grammy winning producer/engineer Mark Johnson and his 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 essentially the artists are all
performing together, albeit hundreds or thousands of miles apart. The resulting
documentary is part of a global effort to inspire peace through music and to
connect diverse musicians worldwide, especially those in regions of conflict.


the Playing For Change: Peace Through
film is set to air nationally as part of special programming airing
on PBS Stations in August 2009 (check local listings). 


of the magical moments include Ireland’s
Omagh Community Youth Choir, comprised 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 began a decade ago, the brainchild of Grammy-winning music
producer and engineer Mark Johnson.  In 1998 Mark teamed with producer
Whitney Kronke 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 which 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.  For more information, please visit the




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