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Playing For Change In Nola

NEW ORLEANS (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Multi-media project and arts collective Playing For Change is set to return to New Orleans for a gig at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on May 8 and two additional performances at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville on May 6 and May 7. These live dates are ahead of the release of "PFC 2: Songs Around The World," a new, two-disc CD/DVD, set for May 31st on Hear Music / Concord Music Group.

Playing For Change was founded in 2004 by Mark Johnson and Enzo Buono with a mission to "inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music". The group aims to foster music schools and programs around the world. Their first project involved traveling around the world to places such as Spain, Ireland, South Africa and India, where the recorded local musicians playing "Stand By Me", adapted to regional styles and tastes.

The "Stand By Me" recordings served as the basis for a 2009 CD/DVD set that debuted at #10 on Billboard's Pop Chart in April of 2009 and the song has since been viewed more than 30 million times on YouTube.

The list of artists who've collaborated in the project includes Vusi Mahlasela, Louis Mhlanga, Clarence Bekker, Tal Ben Ari (Tula), Bono, Keb' Mo', David Broza, Manu Chao and Grandpa Elliott.

The new album will include a mixture of original songs as well as reimagined classics such as Bob Marley's "Redemption Song," Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground" and John Lennon's "Imagine." The "Redemption Song" has been live on YouTube since February and has already racked up more than 1.5 million hits.

The organization has also established three music schools and seven programs around the world, including:

Ntonga Music School, Gugulethu, South Africa
Bizung music and dance school, Tamale, Ghana
Ecole de musique de Kirina, Kirina, Mali
Tintale Village Teaching Center Tinatle, Nepal
Mitrata Nepal village Music Program, Kathmandu Nepal
The Hari Kul Music School, Kathmandu Nepal
Intore Culture and Music Center, Kigali, Rwanda

– CelebrityAccess Staff Writers