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What began as a PBS documentary with the lofty goal of fostering hope and inspiration through music has now become a worldwide phenomenon. Inspired by the passion and energy of street musician Roger Ridley’s rendition of “Stand by Me,” Grammy award winning producer Mark Johnson set out across the globe on one of the most incredible journeys in modern music : Playing For Change. Aired as a documentary on PBS called Playing For Change: Peace Through Music and went completely viral on YouTube, with PFC’s “Stand By Me” video reaching well over 30 million views to date!

A collection of musicians from the documentary came together for a live performance at the 2009 SXSW festival as the Playing For Change Band. The group’s fervent delivery of blues, gospel, reggae and Afropop led to an amazing run of sold out shows, moving audiences worldwide and earning them a remarkable debut on Billboard’s Top 10 with Playing For Change – Songs Around The World.

Johnson traveled the world, recording and filming street musicians of different faiths, backgrounds, and ethnicities, then blended their contributions into one unified and moving performance. Many of these artists would never actually meet, but their talents and passion were brought together in song. Johnson explains the process as “layering musicians on top of each other. They could all hear whatever had come before them, and then they could find a way to make their track something that was more of a universal song.”

Continuing the visionary path created by a one-of-a-kind international music collective, Hear Music/Concord Music Group announce the release of Playing For Change – Songs Around The World Part 2 on May 31st  2011. By filming and recording dozens of musicians from around the world, filmmaker, producer and PFC founder, Mark Johnson captures stunning musical collaborations that seamlessly blend diverse styles of music into powerful performances, expanding on the journey that made Playing For Change one of 2009’s most unusual cultural phenomenons. The 2-disc CD/DVD package is a global mix of cultures and rhythms featuring original songs written for the album, as well as reinterpretations of internationally loved recordings including Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song,” Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” and John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

Playing For Change : Stand By Me :



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