Remarkable Effort Ten Years in the Making Features Collaborations
with Artists Around the Globe, Including Keb’ Mo’,
U2’s Bono and Bob Marley
Los Angeles, CA (February 19th, 2009) – Giving voice to an extraordinary effort to
inspire peace through music and to connect diverse musicians worldwide, including those
in conflict regions, Hear Music today announced the April 28 release of Playing For
Change – Songs Around the World. The special CD/DVD package, available at
participating Starbucks company-operated locations in the U.S. and Canada and at
traditional retail worldwide, contains a ten-song audio CD as well as a seven-track DVD,
which features five of the songs performed live. The DVD also includes a trailer for the
forthcoming PFC documentary and information on the PFC Foundation.
Grammy winning producer/engineer Mark Johnson and his Playing For Change team
traveled for a decade with a single minded passion to connect the world though music.
Their ambitious journey took them from post-apartheid South Africa, through the ancient
sites of the Middle East, to the remote beauty of the Himalayas and beyond. Using
innovative mobile technology, the PFC crew filmed and recorded more than 100
musicians, largely outdoors, in parks, plazas and promenades, in doorways, on
cobblestone streets and amid hilly pueblos. Each captured performance created a new
mix in which essentially the artists are all performing together, albeit hundreds or
thousands of miles apart. In a recent interview with PFC founder Johnson, PBS’ Bill
Moyers called Playing For Change a remarkable example of “the simple yet
transformative power of music...to touch something in each of us.”
Some of the magical moments include Ireland’s Omagh Community Youth Choir singing
“Love Rescue Me,” written by U2 and Bob Dylan, and American street musicians Roger
Ridley and Grandpa Elliott harmonizing with Clarence Bekker from the Netherlands
amid an assembly of artists from Russia, Spain, Venezuela, France and Brazil on the Ben
E. King/Leiber & Stoller classic “Stand By Me,” the video of which has already become
a YouTube sensation with over seven million views.
Also included is an exhilarating version of the Marley classic “War/No More Trouble”.
The track (and video) includes musicians from The Congo, Israel, India, Ireland, South
Africa, the U.S., Zimbabwe and Ghana, along with U2’s Bono and Bob Marley. Marley’s
“One Love” proved to be an irresistible choice for the producers as well, enlisting
American Keb’ Mo’ to sing with performers from India, Israel, Nepal, South Africa and
This unparalleled international collaboration of vocalists and musicians are also heard on
versions of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come,” Tracy Chapman’s “Talkin’ Bout
A Revolution” and Peter Gabriel’s “Biko”.
The relationship between Playing for Change and Hear Music was facilitated by
legendary television producer Norman Lear, co-owner of Concord Music Group, which
formed the Hear Music label with Starbucks in March 2007.
“With Playing for Change, Mark Johnson and his team have created a movement that
transcends language, border and culture, one that brings people together to a common
purpose: peace,” states Lear. “We are thrilled to have this opportunity, along with our
Starbucks partners, to bring this special project to the people.”
A five-city Playing For Change – Songs Around the World tour featuring some of the
musicians on the CD and DVD will kick off at this year’s SXSW music conference in
Austin, Texas on Friday March 20th. Other confirmed dates are:
March 23rd - Knitting Factory, Los Angeles
March 24th - Slims, San Francisco
March 25th - The Showbox at the Market, Seattle
March 31st - Highline Ballroom, New York
About Hear Music
Hear Music is an innovative record label that was created as a partnership between
Starbucks and Concord Music Group. Rooted in quality, authenticity and passion, Hear
Music works directly with artists, both emerging and established, to bring quality music
to the widest possible audience, in both Starbucks locations and traditional music retailers
About Playing for Change
Playing for Change began a decade ago, the brainchild of Grammy-winning music
producer and engineer Mark Johnson. In 1998 Mark teamed with producer Whitney
Burditt to create Playing for Change: A Cinematic Discovery of Street Music. Following
this award-winning 2004 documentary, PFC saw the April 2008 premiere of its latest
film, Playing for Change: Peace Through Music, at the Tribeca Film Festival. The
documentary features over 100 musicians around the world, combining their distant
voices into a powerful group of collaborations.
Seeing great need in many of the locations where the crew filmed and recorded inspired
PFC to establish the Playing for Change Foundation, which provides resources –
including facilities, technology, musical instruments and education – to musicians and
their communities. Completed in January 2009 is the Foundation’s first project, the
Ntonga Music School in South Africa. Its second, the Mehlo Arts Center in
Johannesburg, will open later in 2009.
Playing for Change is headquartered in Los Angeles. For more information, please visit
the website: www.PlayingForChange.com.