‘Playing For Change’ Peace!

And Peace Through Music

How Producer Mark Johnson put it all together.

Morning Edition, May 4, 2009 – Until a video of “Stand by Me” had gone viral on YouTube, Roger Ridley had sung and played guitar anonymously on the streets of Santa Monica, Calif., for years. The video begins with Ridley and then mixes in 40 other musicians from around the world. It’s part of a 10-song collection called Playing for Change: Songs Around the World.

Producer Mark Johnson got the idea a few years ago when he heard Ridley’s voice on a street in Santa Monica.

“I approached him after the performance and said, ‘Hey, if I come back in an hour with some recording equipment and cameras, I’d love to record you, film you, add musicians around the world to it,’ ” Johnson says. “And he looked at me really funny, sort of thought I was crazy. But he said, ‘OK, if you come back, we’ll do it.’ “………………Rest Here with Video Links to a Couple of the Songs

Brings up the NPR Player to Listen to Discussion

New Episode #9, “A Change Is Gonna Come.”,  Now up at PLAYINGFORCHANGE.COM

This performance of Sam Cooke’s classic anthem was recorded and filmed live in New Orleans this past year. It showcases the power and love created when musicians from Playing For Change meet and perform together for the first time. Grandpa Elliott and Clarence Bekker had only known each other through the “Stand By Me” video until they met in person to perform as the Playing For Change Band.

I invite you to witness the soul and perseverance of these two special people who sing with so much conviction that it becomes clear we can truly come together as a human race, one song at a time. As you will see, this performance demonstrates that we are the Change we want to see in the world.

To learn more about the concert where this amazing song was recorded, check out the blog entry that was just posted: “Seeing Through the Eyes of Grandpa.”

Songs Around The World (CD + DVD)

Songs Around the World


    • RiaD on June 1, 2009 at 16:40

    knucklehead, i think, first showed me the stand by me video.

    made me cry, it did.

    music, dance really IS the international language……

  1. Bill Moyers interviewed the producers last year.

    You can watch the interview here:


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