Heard half an interview with someone on Radio 4, who was talking about a Producer called Mark Johnson who was walking down the street in Santa Monica, and heard a busker playing Stand by me, which launched a global project recording street musicians all around the world playing said song.

It sounded interesting – I love that song – and the mental image it conjured was of lots of diffent interpretations of the song around the world. So “this is what Stand By Me sounds like in Russia” (or whatever) kind of thing.

So I googled, and it turns out to be So Much Better. Take a look at www.playingforchange.com/episodes/2/Stand_By_Me (you need to give it to at least 1 min 15 seconds.) – also embedded below (hopefully!)

Four years ago while walking down the street in Santa Monica, CA the Playing For Change crew heard Roger Ridley singing ‘Stand By Me’ from a block away. His voice, soul and passion set us on a journey around the world to add other musicians to his performance.

This song transformed Playing For Change from a small group of individuals into a global movement for peace and understanding.

This track features over 35 musicians collaborating from all over the world; they may have never met in person, but in this case, the music does the talking.

Turns out there’s a whole heap of other performances on the site
(www.playingforchange.com) – the first you get to is a brief introduction and One World.

Playing for Change is a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. 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. And with this truth firmly fixed in our minds, we set out to share it with the world.

It’s heady stuff. While I can’t subscribe whole-heartedly to the ideology (the site talks about finding higher conciousness at one point), the philosphy is fantastic, and blessed are the peacemakers. Even more amazingly, charitable foundation has grown out of it that.. well I’ll let them say:

The Playing For Change Foundation is dedicated to connecting the world through music by providing resources to musicians and their communities around the world.

A decade ago a small group of documentary filmmakers 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 blossomed into a global sensation called Playing For Change, a project including musicians of every level of renown, that has touched the lives of millions of people around the world.

While traveling the world filming and recording musicians, the crew became intimately involved with the music and people of each community they visited. Although many of these communities had limited resources and a modest standard of living, the people in them were full of generosity, warmth, and above all they were connected to each other by a common thread: music.

Out of these discoveries, the Playing For Change Foundation was born and made its mission to ensure that anyone with the desire to receive a music education would have the opportunity to do so. The Playing For Change Foundation is dedicated to the fundamental idea that peace and change are possible through the universal language of music.

Have a look at playingforchange.org/mission

Playing for Change Playing for Change Playing for Change