Tag Archives: peace

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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Back to the 60’s with Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock

Taking Woodstock is not what you might expect, but it remains beautifully realistic and  skilfully composed.

After Brokeback Mountain and Lust,Caution, Ang Lee returns with: Taking Woodstock.

There has been a lot of critics towards this film because woodstock left a (sometimes too) precise image in man’s memory. With time, Woodstock has become a symbol of an era when rebellious youth rose up alongside innovative music to defy common thoughts on war and sexual orientation. Today, we remember it as a period of emancipation for the western world, when the hunger for freedom and harmony was at a peak.

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This year is the festival’s 40th anniversary but Taking Woodstock is not so much of an hommage as we could have expected. That explains why Hollywood Reporter critic Kirk Honeycutt wrote “it’s a low-wattage film about a high-wattage event, which is somewhat disappointing.”

Sex, drugs and rocknroll are not the main focus in Ang Lee‘s film.  Yet I didn’t feel Taking Woodstock was a disapointement. At least, Lee was original enough to surprise his viewers. Taking Woodstock is a comedy with an incredible realistic touch. Emile Hirsh (Into the Wild) is perfect in his role, Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake) is hilarious, and Demetri Martin makes a great debut.

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Although you won’t hear Hendrix’ guitar reefs, the atmosphere and moods of the period still feels quite well transcribed. Taking Woodstock might not be an acid trip, but it’s a true life experience on the path of growth and self-awareness.

My verdict: Interesting, funny and worth seeing.

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