A Simple and Meaningful Message
4/13/2009 9:26:19 PM
A Simple and Meaningful Message
Mark Turner Contributor
In these days
of economic stress for us all, with the World in turmoil, and as we
reflect on the passing of Easter and the deep meaning of which we tend
to loose into today’s hectic and busy lives. We should stop and remember
we are here but once in our lives.
What we do, say and how we act today reflects on us all tomorrow, no
matter how little or how irrelevant we may think it is. The bickering
and conflicts that not only we have between each other, both here at
home or internationally, with different paths to the same goal, it is
possible to live together in harmony, one World living as one, brother
and brother, sister and sister standing side by side for the greater
good of mankind.
therefore, I bring to you an inspirational piece to pass on to your
friends, colleagues and all you know. It is a composite of audio and
video of a song, where by, various singers and musicians from different
places from around the World laid in additional tracks.
This composition, in my opinion, is one of the best pieces of sound
engineering work I think I have ever seen and heard. The piece, produced
and compiled by Mark Johnson, lifts you up to know that we, if we so
choose to do so, can live together, people of all creeds, backgrounds,
ethnicity, religion etc, all it takes is the will. To treat each other
with common decency, respect, learn from each other and to accept our
differences, to do what is right.
The world is full of anger, corruption, distrust etc, but we know that
it is mostly filled with love. Even our brethrens whom we have
disagreements love their nearest and dearest.
The song itself is the classic standard "Stand By Me" originally
released in 1955 by The Staple Singers and released again in 1961 by the
This version is performed by many artists, blues singers, in a
waterlogged New Orleans, chamber groups in Moscow, a South African choir
— to collaborate on songs familiar and new, in the effort to foster a
new, greater understanding of our commonality.
I found this piece as one of Bill Moyers Journal entries on PBS web
site; its also found on Youtube.com and it is doing the rounds on the
Internet grapevine and was created by Mark Johnson.
The piece is entitled Playing for Change: Peace through music
It is due to be released on DVD and CD in April 2009.
Mark Johnson, is what I can only describe as a talented and forward
thinking pioneer, he traveled around the World and recorded tracks for
such classics as "Stand By Me" and Bob Marley's "One World" thus
creating a new mix in which essentially the performers are all
performing together, but are worlds apart.
The performers, at times, conducted the recordings with only battery
powered equipment and compiling their composition onto a previous
recording. Johnson found musicians on street corners and in small clubs
and, they would in turn, gather their friends and colleagues, in all,
they recorded over 100 musicians from Tibet to Zimbabwe.
This unique composition of the song, which has musicians playing
together yet in their own traditions, made Johnson think anew about what
world music should mean and how it should be portrayed:
Johnson adds, just thinking in my mind... what would be unique
instruments to juxtapose against each other that had never been heard
before: a talking drum and a tabla, they're very similar but they never
really come together, or a sitar and a dobro, very similar but how often
do you hear them play together?
The idea was to go to places that would have some sort of instruments
that they could add to the spectrum of the global music that we were
trying to find. And too the piece, the finished product is tremendous!
So, sit back, turn up the volume and I dare you to not tap your feet and
think “ What if ?”, and “What did I do today to make some ones life just
that little bit better?