Monday, May 4, 2009

Playing for Change

This morning NPR did a story about a music project called Playing for Change: Songs Around the World. I was previously aware of this project, but the NPR news story prompted me to write about it here since I realized it has progressed much further since I last heard about it.

The basic idea of the project is musical collaboration. But this isn't simply getting some well known musicians together and having them hammer out some songs. The vision of this project is larger. The idea is to record individual musicians and groups in their own settings all across the world. The collaboration occurs across time and continents via recordings of the other musicians that the producer brings along with him to the different sites. The result is quite beautiful and moving.

But my words aren't really doing this project justice. Here's the video that first introduced me to this project (you can see more videos if you click the above link to their website):

The project is also associated with the Playing for Change Foundation which appears to be trying to build music schools. I don't know enough about that foundation to comment one way or the other about it, but I'm always game for having more music in our lives, and more music schools sound like a worthwhile goal to me.

When I sat down to write this, I thought I was going to say something about how this project could be seen as a metaphor for all human endeavor. But I just realized that this musical collaboration isn't a metaphor, it's simply a wonderful example of the global human jam taking place all the time. We're all building off of what each of us have done. Ideally we do this in peace, but we know that isn't always the way we do things. Regardless, we keep trying. The project isn't metaphorical. It is better than that. It is inspirational.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I have to tell ya that I have only really liked the original version of this song by Ben E. King. All others that have tried to sing it always seem to miss the mark. But, after listening to this mix of all types of voices, instrutments (conventional and unconventional); I believe this might have out done the original.

I can understand the inspirational aspect - it truly gives you hope that if from around the globe something this beautiful can come, then surely the rest of drama could follow and be this peacefully haunting.

Do you have the CD?? I am really thinking of buying it. I think it would be amazing to listen to while driving.