From Africa to Latin America to Butler University, Playing for Change uses the universal language of music to transcend cultural boundaries and promote peace in a world full of people eager to sing the same song.
The Playing for Change Foundation started a decade ago when documentary filmmakers forged into the poverty stricken areas of the world to capture the lives of street musicians.
The YouTube videos of the Playing for Change musicians inspired Clowes Memorial Hall to request a performance in Indianapolis.
Director of marketing for Clowes Hall Joshua Lingenfelter said it was impossible to ignore the musical group’s strong presence on YouTube, which has more than 39 million views and the positive message that the group conveys to audiences.
Playing for Change will perform on Friday at 8 p.m. at Clowes Memorial Hall.
“Playing for Change doesn’t do it for the money but for the purpose of fundraising to build schools for music,” Lingenfelter said. “It’s the mission that Clowes also adopts to continue arts and music education.”
The Playing for Change mission began as a method to spread the benefits of music to less fortunate people who weren’t afforded the opportunity to learn and understand it. After the foundation began traveling worldwide, it became obvious that musical education was only one note in the composition that comprised Playing for Change.
Lingenfelter said the effect of Playing for Change is overwhelming when popular songs the majority of people know are played worldwide by people of different cultures and backgrounds using their own native instruments.
Political science Professor Craig Auchter has also found inspiration in the Playing for Change movement. He began showing the YouTube videos in his political science senior seminar.
Auchter said his class talks in depth about peace and social justice, so the theme of Playing for Change fits perfectly in his curriculum.
Auchter said Playing for Change isn’t solely about the talent of unknown singers and musicians. The foundation makes more of a social statement than a musical one.
“Just as people walk by musicians on the street, we will figuratively walk by the problems in the world,” Auchter said. “The music helps us to remember to pause and pay attention to the world we live in.”
Auchter said the songs not only inspire people to work for change, but they inspire people to work together. He said each song is a powerful example of how music can unite the world.
“No one of us can do everything, but everyone of us can do something,” said Auchter.
Senior philosophy major Kinsey Bussell is currently in Auchter’s class in which the topic of Playing for Change was discussed.
Bussell said the class was learning about intercultural dialogue, and Playing for Change did an exemplary job of showing that dialogue through music around the world.
Like Auchter, Bussell said the encouraging message of Playing for Change teaches people to stop and listen to the world around them instead of casually walking by in ignorance.
Lingenfelter said the performance is expected to bring in a very diverse audience featuring many different cultures and ages. So far the show has sold about 700 tickets, but Lingenfelter said he expects that number to hit 1,000 tickets by the performance date.