Tag Archives: music

Playing For Change – or how music and the web are being used to promote peace.

Can music change the world? The “Playing for Change” project proves how music can unite nations.

All over the world, musicians and singers express themselves in the only places that welcome them: the streets. Very few of these street artists get to be recorded, yet so many have undeniable talents.

Ten years ago, a small group of American documentary filmmakers set out on a musical road-trip to make a film with these musicians. They recorded various artists in different countries playing the same song and edited the footage together. Two independents films ended up being made, one of which appealed to audiences at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The young filmmakers then used the web as an instrument of distribution for their work. Their unique music videos, like the one for Stand By Me above, created a buzz on social media platforms like Youtube and Vimeo. Today, the videos have been seen by more than 10 million viewers.

Later, the project evolved into an incredibly inspiring website, which then became the “Playing for Change” Foundation. As explained on the website, the Foundation “was born and made its mission to ensure that anyone with the desire to receive a music education would have the opportunity to do so. The Playing For Change Foundation is dedicated to the fundamental idea that peace and change are possible through the universal language of music.”

Through “Playing For Change”, street musicians from all over the world unite to promote peace and positive changes.

For more info and to get involved, visit the “Playing For Change” Foundation’s website: http://playingforchange.org/

Mark Johnson, Co-founder of “Playing for Change”, explains the project in his own words:

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Ricky Martin reveals he is gay. But why do we care about his sexuality?

The media are loving it. Latin lover Ricky Martin is getting out of the closet. But why do we care?

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Here is a man who has conquered the world with his charm and his voice. A man who has commited himself to promoting human rights. And yet a man who has lived 38 years of his life hiding from the world who he truly was.

Ricky Martin has finally decided to come out of the closet. “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man,” Martin revealed on his website today. Convinced by his entourage that it would destroy his carreer, it took him time but he is now ready to confirm “I am very blessed to be who I am.”

Ricky Martin hid his sexual orientation to maintain his sex appeal

Throughout the 1990’s Ricky Martin has reached the status of sex symbol. Adored by thousands of young girls who swore by his sex appeal, Martin didn’t want to disapoint and feared loosing his fans.

But questions arose in my mind as I thought about this. Why would his sexual orientation change his sex appeal? Can’t a woman appreciate a gay man’s sex appeal? Don’t men ever find lesbians sexy? The online magazine AskMen informs that “surveys reveal that the majority of men […] enjoy watching two women engage in a passionate interlude”.

So nowadays, why should any artist be scared of loosing his fans because of his sexual orientation? I’m letting you answer this question…

The media reacts to Ricky Martin’s coming out

As decades pass by, more celebrities reveal their homosexuality. In western countries, we have come a long way from the times when homosexuality was seen as a crime (fyi: homosexuality remains illegal in more than 80 countries throughout the world). But homosexuality continues to shock.

It is that shock value that puts Ricky Martin back on the front page of People magazine today. The word “shock” also comes back in a number of articles throughout the web.

But others reacted quite positively to Martin’s announcements. In addition to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) who congratulated him, the british entertainment magazine Heat also applauded his declaration. The notorious Perez Hilton also expressed his happiness for Ricky on his blog.

But no matter what your response is to Ricky Martin’s sexuality, I still have so many questions regarding this affair. Why do you even care? Why do you mind who he loves most? How does who he sleeps with matter to his art and skills?

And, really, why do we even write about it as journalists? In the end, could we even consider publishing such stories ethical?

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Vedic Empire – or how to re-conceptualise the vedic chant

Listening to spiritual chants can become very hypnotic experience.

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I remember standing in the middle of a singing crowd at the nightly pooja ceremony on River Ganga in Rishikesh. The repetition of the lyrics, the gradual rise of their rythm and the intensification of the volume makes the whole experience of listening to live vedic mantras mesmerising.

Although I couldn’t understand what they were saying, their tune got stuck into my head for several days. It’s easy to listen to these kinds of hindu chants as plenty can be found online and the markets are over-flooded with cds of this type of music.

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However, rare are the instances when artists take freedom to get away from classical indian music.

The other day, I found out about The Prayer by Electric Universe. The first minute of the track is astounding. But for those who are not too much into trance, it becomes mind-numbing although the drop-down 4min 30sec into the song sounds great.

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But through some musical exploration I discovered a more interesting band on MySpace: Vedic Empire. They surprised me by the melodic diversity in their songs. I particularly like Nrshinga Kavacham Kunti but Durge Je Je Maa is quite remarkable too.

Their mix of traditional indian instruments with electro music makes their sound relatively distinctive. Besides, Vedic Empire stays closer to Trip-Hop than to Trance, which in my taste suits the vedic chants even better.

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HOCKEY’s Debut Album is Finally Out Worldwide!

Success hit these guys like a car hit my bike. Thank god I am still here to hear them.

HOCKEY is an alternative New Wave band from Portland, Oregon. They formed only a couple of years back and were spotted by DJs in the US last year. With their new album just coming out, the world discovers the phenomenon as they begin their first world tour.

Mind Chaos their first EP came out this month and it is rocking. Got to love their catchy Song Away and their country-style tune Learn To Lose.

If you like Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, The Strokes and Talking Heads; you will love HOCKEY. Mind Chaos is mind blowing.

In between New York,  Tokyo, and Amsterdam, HOCKEY will be playing in London and Paris in November.

You can check out their music on MySpace or on this Blog.

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Is MySpace dying?

Long gone is the time when MySpace ruled the online social networking world. Where is it headed now? Please don’t let us down.

In a year, from 2008 to 2009, Facebook has strikingly taken over MySpace‘s success as a social networking platform.  Within 3 years, MySpace was one of the most visited websites in the world. However, nowadays, social networkers like to make harsh comments concerning MySpace. According to Ling: “of course, MySpace is losing out. It’s a dinosaur from an earlier era, propped up and still alive because it’s being fed by Rupert Murdoch”.

But why? I think MySpace needs to renew its image. What MySpace is offering compared to Facebook is in fact not such a drawback, it is simply different. Subbek made an interesting comparision: “it is kinda’ like a ‘67 Chevy (MySpace) vs. a 2008 Prius (FB). I would much rather drive the Chevy”.

They say Facebook‘s interface looks more clean. But your MySpace page allows you more creativity. You are not bounded a pre-conceived template. You can distinguish yourself in this matter. It is easier to find someone on Facebook because of the more standardized name search. But MySpace allows you to go under a nickname if you wish and be original.

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I don’t think there is actually anything wrong in MySpace, nor in Facebook. Like Phil Staudt, “I like being able to look at people’s profiles before I have to get down on my hands and knees and beg them to please please be my facebook friend”. But other than that, both could increase their speed and decrease their irritating ads.

One thing I believe MySpace to be much better than Facebook is for its music part. MySpace Music is a whole world in itself and I have yet not found any better way to discover bands and other musical artists. Forget connecting with your friends, peeping into people’s lives, chatting nonsense…MySpace is the place to tune in to different sounds, discover unknown/alternative artists, stay in touch with the art world.

I think MySpace should develop and renew itself towards the arts. What do you think?

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