Music has a remarkable ability to cut through barriers of language, religion, nationality, and race. It speaks to the heart, to the soul, to the song of our life itself.
Last fall, I was sent a link to a song “Stand By Me” posted on YouTube. Starting with a street musician in California, through the magic of multitrack recording they gradually add musicians from New Orleans, Amsterdam, Toulouse, Rio, Caracas, Congo, and so on. That original low res clip got about 2 million hits. The official high res is approaching 12 million today.
While it’s not the miracle of live concurrent performance from several locations at once, it is a beautiful thing. It blends a vast array of styles and instruments not normally heard together.
It’s a great story too. Starting with the inspiration of hearing one street musician (who opens the above), he sought other musicians to add to the recording. They ended up traveling the world, recording over 100 musicians, often found on the street and through word of mouth. Recordings are often little rehearsed and outdoors.
There’s an interview with Bill Moyers. Awards for an original documentary. The Irish youth choir brought Bono into the act.
Today when I was shopping, I ran into their “Playing for Change” CD/DVD release in a local store. They were playing it to demo the latest sound and video gear. It’s playing in the background as I write this. The web site has some of the clips, plus a few newer ones.
“Talkin’ Bout a Revolution” is about a music revolution. A foundation to give back was formed. Some of the musicians gathered a band and are doing benefit concerts for refugee centers and arts facilities. And it continues to grow…
“The idea for this project arose from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. No matter whether people come from different geographic, political, economic, spiritual or ideological backgrounds, music has the universal power to transcend and unite us as one human race.”