Sunday, October 4, 2009

BVA - Playing for Change

The Bi-weekly Video Award (BVA) is announced Sunday nights every other week. These videos are stamped with my "Guaranteed to Inspire or Inform" tag. Check out for more.

I have always been one to put money in the cases of musicians. After bailing out on the guitar and the sax in my middle schools years I learned to appreciate the difficulty, dedication and creativity needed to play an instrument and produce quality music. Most of the songs I tried to play were chosen because of the lyrics, a catchy tune or ease; "Stand by Me" is one such song. Ben E. King wrote and recorded "Stand by Me" in 1961. Since that time versions spanning multiple genres from Mo-town to Punk Rock have promoted the powerful lyrics in their own unique style. Greats like Otis Redding, John Lennon and Maurice White (Earth, Wind and Fire) brought added fame to the song, but no version is as moving or powerful as Mark Johnson's "Playing for Change".

The concept is simple - using music to bring people from all walks of life and different corners of the world together. The lyrics stress a fundamental human desire best described as genuine comfort; the knowledge that in good times and bad you are not alone. The beauty of the video is the universal theme pieced together with musicians and instruments from various traditions, ethnicities, and countries to reenforce the message. We are one community. We are one world. Here the message does not propagate from stars, rather it springs eternal from the faces and sounds found across the globe. It is a message that has found the right note in the online community as the video has over 14 million views on youtube.

Don't forget to leave a comment. I'd love to know which musician struck a chord with you. Enjoy!

The Playing for Change initiative is currently building musical programs in developing countries and touring in the USA and Canada. The website has other amazing videos and songs. I personally recommend reading the journey tab which includes how advances in technology greatly changed through the production years (smaller cameras, faster computers, uploading to the net etc).


Stephen Spiewak said...

Loved the video. a great reminder of the unity we have with people near and far. Thanks for this, Marco.

Denise said...

Thanks for sharing this, Marco. The drum group near the middle of the piece struck me, maybe because it took me from the familiar lyrics to the rhythm of the song. I’ll definitely be sharing this video with others.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful video which leaves me feeling so connected! Each musician played so deeply from their heart! Thank you for this holy gift!

Marco Ambrosio said...

As a result of this blog, this video was chosen as "Song of the Week" on the Ignatian Spirituality website!

Thank you for the comments. This video is something special. It teeters the line between contemplative and uplifting.