CONNECTING THE WORLD THROUGH MUSIC
Playing for Change (wiki) is a multimedia music project, created by the American producer and sound engineer Mark Johnson with his Timeless Media Group, that seeks to bring together musicians from around the world. Playing For Change also created a separate non-profit organization called the Playing For Change Foundation which builds music schools for children around the world.
The project started in 2004 with the organization’s self-described goal to „inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music“. The creators of the project, Mark Johnson and Enzo Buono, traveled around the world to places including New Orleans, Barcelona, South Africa, India, Nepal, the Middle East and Ireland. Using mobile recording equipment, the duo recorded local musicians performing the same song, interpreted in their own style. Among the artists participating or openly involved in the project are Vusi Mahlasela, Louis Mhlanga, Clarence Bekker, Tal Ben Ari (Tula), Bono, Keb‘ Mo‘, David Broza, Manu Chao and Grandpa Elliott.
The project’s first single „Stand by Me“, began with a Santa Monica street performer named Roger Ridley (now deceased). The duo traveled the world, recording more and more musicians. All of these versions were considered for mixing a pastiche final version.
The project’s „Stand by Me“ video is widely popular online, with over 58 million hits on YouTube as of January 2014.