Sunday, June 22, 2014

June 7, 2014 Playing For Change at The Old Town School of Folk Music (Concert #26)

This blog is all about a great idea that has blossomed into an incredible charity. If you love music and can spare a few dollars please purchase a CD or DVD, or donate to the charity or do what I did a ticket to see the multinational Playing For Change band live in concert and on tour now. Here is the back story which I copied from the website Playing For Change.

Playing For Change arose from a common belief that music has the power to connect people regardless of their differences. In 2005, a small group of film makers set out with a dream to create a film rooted in the music of the streets. Not only has that dream been realized, it has grown into a global sensation that has touched the lives of millions of people around the world.

When the crew set out, they created a mobile recording studio and went around the world filming musicians in the places where they lived. The sound was then mixed, and although the musicians were never in the same room—or even the same country or continent—they were unified through music with each contributing her or his distinct gifts to the whole. While traveling the world to film and record, the crew got to know the music and people of each community they visited. Those involved wanted to give something back to the musicians who had shared so much with them.

In 2007, the Playing for Change Foundation was established as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music.
 Our mission is to create positive change through music and arts education.

Here is the video that started this amazing project. The fact that this video has had over 62 million views puts a huge smile on my face. Sometimes I just need a reminder that there are people that care about music and people as much as I do. It gives me hope whenever I am down about current world events. Somedays that hope is what keeps me going.

Here's a few pictures from the concert which was appropriately at the Old Town School of Folk Music. I say that because the money they raise is used to build music schools in the poorest parts of the world.

The blind street performer from New Orleans known as Grandpa Elliott not only provided some inspirational vocals and harmonica playing...he also provided some comical moments with his back and forth banter with Clarence Bekker from the Netherlands. The music was incredible as each member of the band sang songs from their home country and they all backed each other in the language of the person singing. They also sang several classic songs that seemed even more powerful to me because of the emotional connection the performers seemed to have with those songs. I've seen lots of concerts in my life but this one will stand out as the most memorable because of the wide range of music and the unique and amazing performances by each and every member of the band.

The band had people dancing in the aisles during the show and received an emotional standing ovation from the audience. The charity is about the power of music and tonights performance proved how powerful music can be all over the world. Mark Johnson, one of the driving forces who started Playing For Change, introduced the band tonight. He also told the story of his trip to South Africa where he was in one of the poorest townships near Capetown. It was one of the most depressing places he had ever seen. But as the sun set and a few musicians began playing on the streets, he saw people singing and dancing to the music. He realized that the music was able to give people a reason to celebrate and enjoy a small part of their day. That is when he got the idea to build music schools. The first Playing For Change music school was built on the same spot in Gugulethu, South Africa where he witnessed the story told above.

Here is a video about the charity side of Playing For Change.

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