Playing For Change was founded in 2004 and is a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace 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.
Playing for Change’s first single “Stand By Me” began with a Santa Monica street performer named Roger Ridley. Playing for Change recorded Ridley’s live public performance and then travelled the world recording more and more musicians to collaborate on the track. As of Aug 2013, the video has over 60 million views on YouTube alone.
The creation of the Playing For Change Band has helped us to realize a dream of uniting the musicians we met during our journey on one stage. The result is a unique fusion of influences and talents in constant evolution since the first concerts in 2008. Grandpa Elliott, legendary street musician from New Orleans, sings alongside Clarence Bekker (Netherlands), Titi Tsira (South Africa), Tal “Tula” Ben Ari (Israel), Jason Tamba (Congo) and Mermans Mosengo (Congo). The rhythm section features Louis Mhlanga (Zimbabwe) on lead guitar, Papa Orbe Ortiz (Cuba) on the bass, Peter Bunetta (USA) on drums, Roberto Luti on guitar (Italy) and on keyboards Keiko Komaki (Japan).
To see Playing For Change perform live is an original and emotional experience. The Playing For Change band has performed over 150 concerts, including a recent tour in Brazil headlining for an audience of 35,000, and a tour in Australia opening act for Robert Plant. The Playing For Change Band features Grandpa Elliott who has been performing on the streets of New Orleans for over 60 years. This amazing blind performer is now traveling the world taking the message from the streets to the stage to the hearts of the people everywhere.
When audiences see and hear musicians who have traveled thousands of miles from their homes, united in purpose and chorus, everyone is touched by music’s unifying power. The Playing For Change Band has collaborated with artists such as Bono, Keith Richards, Robert Plant, Jimmy Buffet, Stephen Marley, Manu Chao,Toots Hibbert, Ziggy Marley, Sara Bareilles, Keb Mo, Babaa Maal, Tinariwen, Los Lobos, Bombino and many more.
Playing For Change’s third and most recent album, PFC3: Songs Around the World, was released on June 17th 2014 and features over 185 musicians from 31 countries!