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Playing For Change
An ongoing multimedia project, Playing for Change was created in 2004 by producer/engineers Mark Johnson and Enzo Buono. Hoping to break down musical and social barriers and promote a peaceful world-view, the duo traveled around the globe recording street musicians playing the same songs with the idea of creating a pastiche of the recordings. The project's first single, a cover of Ben E. King's classic "Stand by Me," featuring the Santa Monica street performer Roger Ridley, became a YouTube sensation. Since that time, Playing for Change has continued to release music and videos featuring various musicians from different backgrounds. Featured along the way have been many lesser-known artists like New Orleans musician Grandpa Elliot Small, as well as such bigger names as guitarist Keb' Mo' and U2's Bono. In 2007, Johnson formed the nonprofit Playing for Change Foundation to help give back to the various musicians and communities involved in the project. Then, in 2008, Johnson created the for-profit organization Timeless Media Group and partnered with the Concord Music Group to help fund and promote the work of Playing for Change. In 2009, Playing for Change released the CD/DVD Playing for Change: Songs Around the World. A second volume followed in 2010, as did the concert album Playing for Change Live. In 2014, Playing for Change returned with the album PFC 3: Songs Around the World, which featured performances from such artists as Keith Richards, Sara Bareilles, Keb' Mo', and others, including 180 musicians from 31 countries. ~ Matt Collar