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Songs Around the World (Audio/Video Version)

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Album Review

Playing for Change is producer Mark Johnson's multimedia project intending to tie the world together via music. Johnson traveled the globe between 2004 and 2008, finding musicians in every corner of the world, from African villages to the streets of Santa Monica, then recorded them, usually singing American rock and pop classics, for this 2009 charity album. Many of the ten songs here are quite familiar — Ben E. King's "Stand by Me," Peter Gabriel's "Biko," Tracy Chapman's "Talkin' Bout a Revolution," U2's "Love Rescue Me," Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come," and Bob Marley's "One Love" and "No More Trouble" — and even if the arrangements aren't necessarily faithful, they are familiar, blending in elements of blues, gospel, folk, reggae, and African music that's eclectic but not exotic. That familiarity isn't just due to the heavy presence of blues singer Keb' Mo' — who sings on three tracks here — and Bono's cameo, but also how Johnson's discovery Roger Ridley is essentially a soul singer in the vein of Ted Hawkins and how all the material, even Pierre Minetti's written-to-order "Don't Worry," is presented in the form of Western pop music. This does help give Playing for Change a broad potential audience, one that might find itself introduced to new rhythms, harmonies, and textures thanks to this good-hearted project.

Customer Reviews

can't stop listening to this

listened to it a few times and couldn't wait for ordering the cd, will have to do that later. i had to buy it. support them this is a jewel on the itunes store, haven't heard talent like this on the itunes store in a while, and when you hear it it feels genuine


Real music that touches the soul! A fantastic idea with some amazing artists. Hopefully, more albums are on the way.

blessed be music

blessed be the music that makes the soul feel complete.


Formed: 2004

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

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....
Full bio
Songs Around the World (Audio/Video Version), Playing for Change
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Customer Ratings