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Playing for Change Connects the World Through Music

[social_buttons] When I first watched the video “Stand by Me” produced by Playing for Change a year ago, I was moved by the beauty of the music and the simplicity of the message.  Playing for Change wasn’t just a multimedia project.  It was a movement – and its mission was to “bring peace to the world through music”.

Needless to say, I ran out and bought the CD, Playing for Change: Songs Around The World as soon as it was released on April 28th.  And now, the fine folks at Playing for Change Records and Concord Music Group bring us the special two-disc package of Playing for Change: Songs Around The World – Deluxe Edition, which includes the full-length documentary film Peace Through Music.

The documentary is a “story of hope, struggle, perseverance and joy.”  The filmmakers traveled the globe with a single minded passion: to connect the world through music.  The DVD includes a 15-minute behind the scenes featurette consisting of interviews with executive producer Norman Lear, creator/co-director Mark Johnson and co-director Jonathan Walls.  For the past four years, the film crew recorded more than 100 musicians spanning five continents.  The documentary was first broadcast nationally on PBS, which spawned the amazing video “Stand By Me,” featuring 37 musicians from around the world many of whom have never met in person.

But the folks at Playing for Change wanted to do more than just record the music.  They wanted to give back to the musicians and communities that had shared so much with the world.  So in 2007, they created the Playing for Change Foundation (PFCF), a separate 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation whose mission is to do just that.  According to its website, PFCF is dedicated to connecting the world through music by providing resources including, but not limited to facilities, supplies, and educational programs.  PFCF is currently building a music and dance school located in Tamale, Ghana.  Bizung School of Music and Dance is only a 2 hour drive from Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, and Togo.  The school will have students from diverse backgrounds and musical traditions.

One of the ways PFCF raises money is through the Playing for Change Band.  To celebrate the launch of the  Playing for Change: Songs Around The World – Deluxe Edition, the Band will begin a nation-wide tour on October 20.  We now have the opportunity to see this amazing collection of world-traveling musicians.  Please check out the tour schedule to see when the Playing For Change Band will be performing at a venue near you!  A portion of the proceeds from each show will benefit the Playing for Change Foundation.

The Playing for Change phenomenon is the perfect example of how viral and influential social media can be.  The video “Stand By Me” has been viewed by more than 30 million people on sites like YouTube and Vimeo.  Playing for Change has become a global movement.  Below is the video that started it all and be sure to visit Playing for Change for inspiring versions of Bob Marley’s “War/No More Trouble” and “One Love”.  These videos give us hope that music truly can unite humanity for the good of the world.

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Written by Cindy Hoots

With more than 10 years experience working for a major Fortune 500 company, Cindy specializes in socially and environmentally responsible business strategies. She has developed successful corporate communications and stakeholder engagement strategies on contentious sustainability issues and has worked with a number of NGOs and activist organizations on how to effectively partner with multinational companies. Cindy frequently writes about topics ranging from what is corporate social responsibility to sustainable supply chain and measuring a company's environmental impact. She believes business plays a vital role in the health of our communities and our planet.

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