10.29.09: Playing for Change, Wiley and the Checkmates on Halloween, and Nirvana (well, kinda)

29 10 2009

Grandpa Elliot, one of Playing For Change's performing artists

(Cribbed from the excellently informative Playing For Change website.)

Traveling across four continents for over three years with cameras and a mobile recording studio, award-winning producers Mark Johnson and Jonathan Walls embarked on a search for musical inspiration. What they discovered on their journey was the power music has to connect the world together. Chronicled in the feature-length documentary, Playing For Change: Peace Through Music, is a journey that starts in the city streets of America and Europe and heads to South African townships and the Himalayan Mountains.

The film, co-directed by Mark Johnson and Jonathan Walls and produced by Joe Carnahan, features spontaneous live musical performances and interviews with a wide variety of musicians, including Manu Chao, Grammy Award winner Keb’ Mo’, and South African musician and activist, Vusi Mahlasela. Throughout the film, musicians from different locations that have never met each other join together to re-create songs such as “One Love” and “Stand by Me,” further demonstrating the power of music to connect and inspire people around the world.

In 2007  Johnson and Walls created the Playing for Change Foundation, a separate 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation whose mission is to help the communities that shared their artists and their music. Additionally, Timeless Media was created as  a for-profit entity to fund and extend the work of Playing for Change. Our goal is to bring PFC’s music, videos and message to the widest possible audience.

Now, musicians from all over the world are brought together to perform benefit concerts that build music and art schools in communities that are in need of inspiration and hope. In addition to benefit concerts, the Playing for Change band also performs shows around the world. When audiences see and hear musicians who have traveled thousands of miles from their homes, united in purpose and chorus on one stage, everyone is touched by music’s unifying power.

The current members of the Playing For Change Band are: Clarence Bekker (lead vocals), Grandpa Elliott (lead vocals, harmonica) Tal Ben Ari “Tula” (lead vocals), Mermans Kenkosenki (lead vocals, congas), Louis Mhlanga (electric guitar), Jason Tamba (backup vocals, acoustic guitar), Reggie McBride (backup vocals, bass), Peter Bunetta (drum kit) and Mohammed Alidu (talking drum, djembe).

While the Playing For Change show enlightens and enlivens our Ballroom on Friday night, our Tavern show features some of Cleveland’s most talented pranksters take the stage to provide a very special Halloween show, wherein they cover a number of famed bands. The Hot Rails take on The Who; members of Stimulus Package and This Is  A Shakedown do a set of Nirvana tunes (with proper instrument breakage, we hope).  A group who call themselves Fakawi cover the Dead Milkmen, and Living Stereo tackle the Damned, whose immortal “Neat Neat Neat” we bring to you here…well, er, some version of it:

 Now, if you’re looking for a Saturday night Halloweenparty, look no further, as Downtown Soulville curators DJs Fishtruck and Racecard set soul platters at the ready for a night with Mississpians Wiley and the Checkmates.  Here, we let SOUL MUSIC speak for itself, inspiring you to higher highs and a deeper understanding of the universal funk that flows through all of us.  Kinda makes Playing for Change’s mission even more concrete, huh? 

A costume knocks $3 off the door price. Want more information? Go to www.beachlandballroom.com. You’ll learn.





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