Sunday, December 14, 2008

Peace Through Playing for Change

"The last person who knew why we're fighting
died a long time ago."

I have to share something I just saw that I had Tivoed earlier this week.

I just heard Bill Moyer's (second) interview with Grammy award winning producer and engineer Mark Johnson, who has just completed making a documentary film entitled "Playing for Change: Peace through Music".

It took him ten years to complete, and features one hundred musicians, each of whom he recorded playing their music from their own unique and particular neighborhoods.

In a subway station in New York, he experienced music's ability to touch hearts, to uplift spirits and to bring people together. Listening to a street musician, playing in his neighborhood, Johnson had another epiphany: he would film individuals making music together. He would travel the world to film them as they performed from the familiarity of their own neighborhoods.

Johnson said that in his travels (which, as Moyers pointed out, included visits to some of the darkest and bloodiest places on our planet), he saw the beauty of the people he met, and he saw a deep longing that all of the peoples of the world would "unite together".
Johnson told Moyers that he remembered hearing someone say: "The last person who knew why we're fighting died a long time ago."

The only choice we have, says Johnson, is to come together. We don't know how long we get to be alive here in this world. So, "While we're here, let's make a difference together!"

Johnson is now building music schools in some of the neighborhoods he visited while filming. He wants to provide opportunities for more people across our planet to share the joy and hopefulness of making music together.