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Playing For Change: Peace Through Music

Airs Friday, August 6, 2010 at 10:30 p.m. on KPBS TV

Musicians from all around the world -- Amsterdan (Clarence Bekker), Congo (Me...

Credit: Playing for Change

Above: Musicians from all around the world -- Amsterdan (Clarence Bekker), Congo (Mermans Kenkosenki, Jason Tamba, and Tshotsho Fikisi), Zimbabwe (Louis Mhlanga), Ghana (Mohammed Alidu), Capetown (Titi), and from the 'States, New Orleans (Grandpa Elliott), Los Angeles (Peter Bunetta), and Detroit (Mr. Reggie Mcbride)

Bill Moyers called it a remarkable example of “the simple yet transformative power of music... to touch something in each of us.” Variety acknowledged it as “a great showcase for just what incredible, thoroughly accessible popular music is being made worldwide.” "Playing for Change" is an extraordinary effort to unite musicians and vocalists from diverse parts of the globe, while at the same time seeking to immerse audiences in a multimedia movement to inspire, connect and bring peace to the world through music.

Get Involved

There are a number of fun ways you can join the movement and help spread the word about Playing For Change. We need your help. Find out more

Utilizing innovative mobile audio/video techniques, Playing for Change (PFC) records musicians outdoors in cities and townships worldwide. They’ve traveled from post-Katrina New Orleans to post-apartheid South Africa, from the remote beauty of the Himalayas to the religious diversity of Jerusalem. Their talents are captured in myriad environments: under the sun and beneath the streetlights … in public parks, plazas and promenades ... in doorways, on cobblestone streets, amid hilly pueblos. Their performances are subsequently combined in allowing them to collaborate – albeit separated by hundreds, or even thousands, of miles.

Playing for Change began a decade ago, the brainchild of Grammy-winning music producer and engineer Mark Johnson. “I was in a subway in New York on my way to work, and I heard these two monks playing music,” he recalls. “They were painted head to toe, all white, wearing robes. One was playing a nylon guitar, and the other was singing in a language I didn’t understand. There were about 200 people who stopped to watch, didn’t even get on the train. Some had tears in their eyes. And it occurred to me that here is a group of people that would normally run by each other, but instead they’re coming together. And it’s the music that brought them together.” Watch the program online and join the movement.

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Video Excerpt: Playing For Change

"Playing For Change: Peace Through Music" is a film that explores our connections in a world overwhelmed with division. Through the process of making this film we traveled around the world and discovered that music opens the door to a place where we can come together as a human race. Music helps us to persevere through struggles and celebrate our differences which changes the world into a more peaceful place.

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