The Playing for Change Foundation Event Sunday April Third at The Wheatsheaf Hotel 4:00 pm
Join us for an afternoon of great music from –
Tinfish George: Folk/Blues songster & Storyteller
The Dukes of Jump: Jive Swing Boogie Woogie & Blues
Lara & The Organics: A dynamic mix of Soul, Blues, Funk & Jazz
Free entry – but Donations please.
This is a gig to raise funds for the Klong Toey music program. A music school bringing positive change to at-risk kids living in a Bangkok slum. The musicians are donating their time and every cent collected goes to the school – no admin. Overheads whatsoever. A limited amount of “Playing For Change” merchandise will be available.
Visit the school at: http://playingforchange.org/programs/detail/khlong_toey_music_program
The Story, the Inspiration, Vision and Realisation...
Playing for Change was born in 2002 as a shared vision between co-founders, Mark Johnson, Raan Williams and Whitney Kroenke, to hit the streets of America with a mobile recording studio and cameras in search of inspiration and the heartbeat of the people. Producers Johnson and Enzo Buono travelled around the world to places including New Orleans, Barcelona, South Africa, India, Nepal, the Middle East and Ireland. Using mobile recording equipment, the duo recorded local musicians performing the same song, interpreted in their own style.
In 2005, Mark Johnson was walking in Santa Monica, California, when he heard the voice of Roger Ridley (now deceased) singing “Stand By Me.” Roger had so much soul and conviction in his voice, and Mark approached him about performing “Stand By Me” as a Song Around The World. Roger agreed, and when Mark returned with recording equipment and cameras he asked Roger, “With a voice like yours, why are you singing on the streets?” Roger replied, “Man I’m in the Joy business, I come out to be with the people.” Ever since that day, the Playing For Change crew has travelled the world recording and filming musicians, creating Songs Around The World, and building a global family.
The founders of Playing For Change created the Playing For Change Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building music and art schools for children around the world, and creating hope and inspiration for the future of our planet.
In 2011, the Playing For Change Foundation established an annual Playing For Change Day. The goal of Playing For Change Day is to “unite a global community through the power of music to affect positive social change”. In 2012, the PFC Day consisted of over 330 events across 52 countries and helped raise over $150,000 for the Playing For Change Foundation, and in 2014, PFC Day saw over 400 events in 60 countries. It is held on the Saturday nearest the United Nations' International Day of Peace, which takes place each year on September 21.
Khlong Toey Music Program
After seeing PFC's "Stand By Me" video on YouTube in 2008, musicians Aom Amm and Gigi Nemrod were deeply inspired. Little did they know that simply viewing a video would soon change their lives in a profound way. Upon further investigation they read about the efforts of the Foundation and from that moment decided to model the same principles and initiate a music program for disadvantaged Thai children. The Khlong Toey Music program was founded in August 2012.
This is not just a music program, but a vital mission that helps build self-esteem and hope in young people, providing a sense of family and belonging for kids who might otherwise be on the street and vulnerable to the negative influences of drugs, gangs, and other harsh realities of daily life in the slum. There are three teachers and three additional team members who volunteer their time for the benefit of the Thai students, including Aom and Gigi. Most of the program's music instruments were contributed by generous supporters. In addition, a recording studio, which was funded by the generous support of local Thailand business, has opened at the school for students to learn technical skills, how to use recording software and record original songs.
Thanks to the efforts of program founders, Gigi and Aom, the Khlong Toey Music Program has a home. A rented building in the Khlong Toey slum has been transformed into a vibrant music school by teachers, volunteers and students who painted the walls and contributed their own art to make it their own. The students now have a safe place to learn music, dance and enjoy being children.
This is the school to which my friend Tinfish George found his way in 2014 on one of his visits to Thailand. In 2015 George returned to the school (taking a ukulele he bought in Adelaide and donated it to the school), and began as a music teacher to the kids. He noted that whilst the kids do have a place to call their school, it is little more than a Bangkok slum, badly in need of repair and maintenance. With this in mind George returned to Australia determined to try to make a difference. I have been friends with George for 10 years or more now, so in describing his experiences to me, the idea was born that we CAN make a difference.
Hence our gig at The Wheatsheaf Hotel on April 3. We are planning more gigs in several Australian cities and with Dame Fortune on our side, we will make this an annual event on the Australian music calendar.
March 2, 2016