Tag Archives: social tranformation movements

Playing for Change

When I (Cathy) first came across Playing for Change, I imagined it was a group of buskers playing music for loose change.  But it wasn’t that kind of change they were playing for…

Playing For Change arose from a common belief that music has the power to connect people regardless of their differences. In 2005, a small group of film makers set out with a dream to create a film rooted in the music of the streets. Not only has that dream been realized, it has grown into a global sensation that has touched the lives of millions of people around the world

The most popular piece viewed on the net is a beautiful rendition of the classic hit ‘Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay. And it is lovely.  But my favourite is the Playing for Change video version of Stand By Me. This video includes: Roger Ridley, Santa Monica , California;  Grampa Elliot, New Orleans, Louisianna;  Claence Dekker, Amasterdam, Netherlands; Umlazi , South Africa; Twin Eagle Drum Group, Zuni New Mexico; and the Inamuva singing troup in Umliazi, South Africa singing “halanami”, which is “stand by me” in Zulu.


This movement was picked up by a 10th Grade Music class at the American International School of Lusaka, Zambia. Below is a section from the school’s blog:

We came across the Playing For Change video, “Stand by Me”, as our 10th grade music class had been working to come up with project ideas. We were focused on working with some of our great local musicians here in Lusaka.

The students were so inspired by the video that wanted to come up with a way to make our own.  We chose to use the classic soul song “Express yourself” by Charles Wright.  Charles Wright was graciously allowed us to use his song.

We then got in contact with some of Lusaka’s best musicians from traditional groups to soul, gospel and jazz.  The musicians came to our school, gave clinics and each recorded a track for the song. The students sang, danced, played, interacted with and learned from these great musicians.

In the end we had a dozen audio and video tracks that we then mixed and edited to create the video.  We held a fundraiser concert with all of the musicians and performed “Express Yourself”.  It was a wonderful experience for all involved.  Thanks again to “Playing For Change” for all of your support and for being our inspiration!

This movement is a wonderful example of what creative minds, talents and technology can do to inspire hope and transformation around world.