In celebration of what would have been Bob Marley’s 66th birthday, band and foundation Playing for Change has teamed up with Marley’s estate to release a video that will premiere today on the musician’s Facebook Page.
“This is the third Bob Marley song that we have done,” says Playing For Change founder Mark Johnson. The release of this particular video just happens to coincide with Marley’s birthday (February 6).
“Bob Marley is one of the greatest musicians in the world and has the great ability to inspire people in every race, culture and economic status. [The song is a] great way to inspire people to come together,” he says.
If you’re not familiar with Playing For Change, it’s a band and foundation created by Mark Johnson, who spent four years traveling and filming musicians from around the world (local and street musicians alike).
In 2008, he released a cover of the song “Stand By Me.” That video has garnered close to 30 million YouTube views, and it helped lead to a PBS documentary and CD series. The Playing For Change band was also born (and will soon be playing at Jazz Fest in New Orleans), as well as The Playing For Change Foundation, which seeks to support music education.
The Marley video is a little different than previous Playing For Change pieces; instead of just using local musicians and established (living) artists to recreate the jam, Johnson incorporated a performance from Marley’s final tour, which set the tone and tempo for the rest of the performers — including Marley’s son.
This video, like all of Playing For Change’s previous work, was filmed outdoors to echo the experience of seeing a particularly effective street performer. “You can walk by someone and they can change your life,” Johnson says.
The disc containing this song will be released in May 2011, and, like all other albums, the proceeds will go toward building music schools in places like Mali, Rwanda and South Africa.
Playing For Change makes an effort — especially with this album — to go into poorer communities in order to find performers, which serves a dual purpose: 1) To show the world the beauty and talent inherent in even the poorest of areas; and 2) To forge communities where music schools can later be built.
Johnson says that the foundation is also working on a video program (still in its infancy) that connects the schools, so kids can share in music-making, and those who donate to those schools can see the fruits of their charity.