Category Archives: Music videos

Video of the Week: Playing For Change’s Redemption Song Video

Playing For Change - Songs Around The World, Part 2
With the approval and support of the Marley Estate, Playing For Change sought to create a truly global recording of Bob Marley‘s “Redemption Song.” The stunning video includes Japanese musician Hiromitsu Agatsuma on shamisen, Congolese guitarist Jason Tamba, Congolese vocalist Mermans Kenkosenki and vocalist Stephen Marley.

The video is an introduction to the upcoming release of Playing For Change – Songs Around The World Part 2 (Hear Music/Concord Music Group) on May 31st, 2011. By filming and recording dozens of musicians from around the world, filmmaker, producer and PFC founder, Mark Johnson captures stunning musical collaborations that seamlessly blend diverse styles of music into powerful performances.

Playing For Change – Songs Around The World Part 2 expands on the journey that made Playing For Change one of 2009’s most unusual cultural phenomenons. The 2-disc CD/DVD package is a global mix of cultures and rhythms featuring original songs written for the album, as well as reinterpretations of internationally loved recordings including Bob Marley‘s “Redemption Song,” Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” and John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

Playing For Change caught the public’s awareness in 2009 when their version of the song “Stand By Me” accumulated over 30 million views on YouTube. Johnson and his crew mixed the performances of 18 street musicians, a South African Choir and a Native American drum group into a clip that went viral on the Internet after Johnson appeared on PBS’ Bill Moyers’ Journal. “Stand by Me” laid the foundation for the best selling CD/DVD set Playing for Change: Songs Around The World, which debuted at #10 on Billboard’s Pop Chart in April of 2009.

Baaba Maal participates in the album with an arrangement of Bob Marley‘s “Three Little Birds” - Photo by Tyrone Le Bon
In 2008 Playing For Change entered into a joint venture with Concord Music Group through the support of label co-owner, entertainment legend Norman Lear and Concord Music Group chief creative officer John Burk. The hard work and perseverance of Concord Music Group’s team has played an essential role in the Playing For Change story, powering the effort to bring PFC’s vision and inspiration to fruition.

The true measure of any movement is what it gives back to the people. The Playing For Change Foundation embodies this and works toward building, maintaining and connecting music schools across the globe.

The Foundation’s first project, the Ntonga Music School in South Africa, opened in 2009. In addition, The Foundation has opened three music schools in Nepal as well as schools in Ghana, Mali and Rwanda, with more in the planning stages. To create links between the schools, Playing For Change is working with engineers from NASA. They want to offer third world countries the ability to connect with the outside world through the Internet.

We recently went to MIT in Boston with NASA engineers,” Johnson says. “We had Boston high school music students connect in real time with kids in our school in South Africa. They were performing and interacting with each other and, at the end of the session, they were in love with each other. All prejudice was wiped away. That’s the motivation behind the PFC Foundation.”

Songs Around The World, Part 2” is a continuation and evolution of our desire to present music to inspire the world,” Johnson says. “The journey of this album takes us from a village in Mali to the favelas (slums) of Brazil, from New Orleans to India, Jamaica to Japan. We stopped in 15 countries and recorded more than 150 musicians. The quality of our technology has improved. It sounds and looks better.”

The music on Songs Part 2 is truly global, a dizzying mix of styles, cultures and rhythms. Baaba Maal‘s arrangement of Bob Marley‘s “Three Little Birds” has an African groove that’s complimented by rhythms from eight Brazilian percussionists, Keb’ Mo’s Delta blues guitar, trap drummer Courtney “Bam” Diedrick’s reggae backbeat and D. Chandrajit’s tabla. Tinariwen, a band of musicians from the deserts of Northern Mali, play a kind of music that incorporates American blues, African rhythms and Tuareg folk music. They provide the driving pulse for Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” and their own “Groove in G,” an improvisation that features Ag Alhabib’s electric guitar, Hiromitsu Agatsuma’s shamisen and a dozen Indian, African, Jamaican and Brazilian drummers and percussionists as well as subtle improvisations from sitar, veena and sarod players.

The recording also features a performance from The Wailers’ last European tour along with a click track using Bob Marley‘s vocal.

Recordings: Playing for Change LivePlaying for Change: Songs Around The World

Buy Playing For Change – Songs Around The World Part 2


Video of the Week: Easy Come, Easy Go by Sierra Hull

Sierra Hull
Mandolin sensation Sierra Hull has released “Easy Come, Easy Go,” the video for the single from her new album Daybreak. The video was directed by award David McClister (Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Leann Rimes) and was filmed in one day at the Two Rivers Mansion in Nashville. It features her touring band called Highway 111.

Daybreak was produced by Union Station’s bassist, Barry Bales. It features some of the best singers and players in the contemporary bluegrass scene. This is Sierra Hull‘s follow-up to 2008’s Secrets.

Sierra Hull is a bluegrass singer, songwriter, and virtuoso mandolin player. The 19 year old musician has become one of the sensations in the bluegrass world. She is in her final year at Berklee College of Music where she is the first bluegrass artist to be awarded Berklee’s Presidential Scholarship. This prestigious award is given to only 5 students out of thousands of applicants. It includes tuition, school fees, and room and board.

Recordings available:


Video of the Week Sleepy Maggie by Ashley MacIsaac

Ashley MacIsaac
As an appetizer before Saint Patrick’s Day, this week we present this classic video by Ashley MacIsaac. The groundbreaking ‘Sleepy Maggie’ brought together the groundbreaking sounds of Celtic music and electronica.

Cape Breton fiddler Ashley McIsaac is joined by the lovely Scottish Gaelic vocals of Mary Jae Lamond, one of the great voices in Canadian Celtic music. The hit single ‘Sleepy Maggie’ was included in the album Hi  How Are You Today?, released in 1995.

When Ashley Maclsaac burst on the worldwide scene with 1995’s Hi  How Are You Today?

Recordings available:


Video of the Week: El Puchero del Hortelano Presents Ave Fénix

El Puchero del Hortelano
Ave Fénix” is the second single and music video by Granada-based El Puchero del Hortelano. The group combines flamenco, alternative rock and global beats. Their latest album was released three months ago.

“Ave Fénix” is one of El Puchero del Hortelano’s most popular pieces.

The music video was directed by Argentine photographer Ernesto Oehler. He took the band to an abandoned gold mine in the middle of the desert, where he shot the video. Madrid-based Pablo Bertrán edited the videoclip.


Sufi Sensation Sanam Marvi to perform at du World Music Festival

Sanam Marvi, courtesy of Coke Studio
Sanam Marvi is an outstanding Pakistani folk and Sufi singer and at her young age she is considered among the finest performers in the Sufi, ghazal and folk genres.

She trained under her father Fakir Ghulam Rasool, and later with Ustad Fateh Ali Khan of the Gwalior gharana (school). She studied Sufi poetry extensively and is deeply influenced by this genre because of its messages of love and peace.

She became popular after her live performance at Coke Studio, a Pakistani television series featuring cutting edge live music performances.

Sanam Marvi sings compositions of Baba Bulleh Shah; Baba Sheikh Fari; Sachal Sarmast, the Sufi mystic from Sindh; and Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, who is one of the greatest poets of the Sindhi language.

She will be performing tomorrow and March 1st at the du World Music Festival in Dubai

The Walk, JBR – 28 February, 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm
The Burj Steps, Downtown Dubai – 1 March, 9:45 pm – 11:00 pm

Watch her superb performance at the Coke Studio:

Recordings available: Best of Sanam Marvi (MP3)


Video of the Week: Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco Presents La Habana Me Llama

Manolito Simonet
Manolito Simonet y su Trabuco, one of the hottest bands form Cuba, made this video titled v (Havana is Calling Me).

Founded on February 25, 1993, Manolito y su Trabuco was one of the first Cuban timba bands, but it wasn’t until the second wave, in 1995, that they released their first album, Directo al corazón.

In 2006, about to release their 7th album, Hablando en serio, they enjoyed a gradual and steady rise in popularity and are now generally considered to be among the top three or four true timba bands in Havana.

Recordings available:


Syria-born singer Saadi Releases Lights Up NY Video

Saadi - Photo by Alberto Milazzo
Syrian hip-hop/electro/dancehall singer Saadi has released a new single called “Lights Up NYC,” a collaboration with Sierra Leonian rapper Bajah (from Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew)

According to Saadi, “Lights Up NYC” deals with the relationship every artist has with the struggle to live and create in New York City. It was inspired by Pupa Bajah’s story of coming to New York with the Dry Eye Crew from Sierra Leone.

Bajah and Boshra Saadimet at an Antibalas show in Brooklyn, immediately went back to Saadi’s studio in the East Village and “Lights Up NYC” was born.

Boshra al Saadi was born in Syria, sojourned in suburban Pennsylvania for a spin in Catholic school, ventured to New York City’s Greenwich Village in her late teens with folksinger dreams, and cut her teeth as co-frontwoman for indie rock band Looker, before setting out on her own.

Saadi’s new material will all be released via Dither Down, a new label based in Brooklyn that was started up by Tim Wagner and Benny Lowe of 33Hz along with DJ Chicus of the reggae label, Redbud Records. The label is centered around their love of indie pop, disco, dub, 80s electro and house and it focuses on releases from up and coming New York artists.


Video of the Week, La vida en serie by La Selva Sur

La Selva Sur
We begin the new Video of the Week section at World Music Central with the video La vida en serie by mestizo band La Selva Sur from Sevilla (Spain).

The music video shows the life of a TV-obsessed freaky guy. This the the second single from the debut album titled “La Gran Orquesta kamástronica de la zanfoña galáctica released in 2010.”

La Selva Sur describes itself as a mestizo world music swing band, influenced by mestizo sounds, swing, reggae, Balkan, ska, rock and Latin rhythms. The line includes: Chusta on vocals; Cheché Álvarez and Silvia on backing vocals; Fernando Lamadrid on bass; Chacho Martín on drums; Marcos Muné on guitars; Moi on keyboards; and Pepe on brass.

After touring Spain and Portugal, La Selva Sur will continue with its international Kamastra Tour ’11. The band will take its live experience across the ocean to Havana, Kingston, New Orleans and then back to Europe. The European itinerary will include London, Bucarest and Belgrade.


Turkish Singer Aynur Releases Rewend video

Aynur has a new video titled ‘Rewend,’ which is a song included in her new album ‘Rewend,’ released in 2010. Fatih Akin shot the video of title song ‘Rewend’ in Hasankeyf. Aynur was born in 1975 in Tunceli where she filled her soul with the virtues of her traditional folk culture, learned the great tales, legends and songs and accumulated a musical culture which would later define her musical character.

She combined the musical legacy of her ancestors with her unbelievably strong voice. After she moved to Istanbul, she released two albums Kece Kurdan/2004, Nupel/2005, took part in Fatih Akin’s movie “Crossing the Bridge” , had cover stories in many international magazines and newspapers and became an international artist with the mission of carrying her Kurdish musical heritage, with her voice to anywhere she goes. After an incredible performance in 2006 Womex, she gave many concerts and made sold out tours all around the world.

Aynur was born in 1975 in the small mountainous town of Cemisgezek in Tunceli province in southwestern Turkey. She attended the ASM School of Music studying music education and the saz – a stringed instrument somewhat similar to the guitar and very popular in Turkish folk music. During her studies she also began formal voice training and was vocally coached by Turkish artists Begüm Erdem and Askin Metiner.

Her professional recording career began in 2002 with the release of her debut album “Seyir”. She went on to collaborate both in the studio and live in performance with a slew of leading Turkish musicians such as Metin-Kemal Kahraman, Lütfü Gültekin, Anjelika Akbar, Kardes Türküler, Mikail Aslan, Mercan Dede, Cemil Koçgün as well as with the group Orient Expressions and Grup Yorum. She also lent her talent to a few soundtrack projects cutting tracks for film and television.

She soon began to garner international recognition thanks to her dedication to touring and live performance that centered on her unique voice, saz playing and a repertoire built around passionate and elegant folk tunes sung both in Kurdish and Turkish. In 2004 Aynur cut the emotionally charged Keça Kurdan following it up a year later with Nûpel both projects released on Kalan Müzik label. They earned the artist praise at home and abroad thanks to their down to earth arrangements and Aynur’s evocative, rich voice and set the stage for her to become one of the top selling Kurdish folk artists.

She has drummed up plenty of attention internationally appearing on the cover of the famous British music magazine fRoots in 2004. On March 21st 2005 Aynur subsequently landed the cover for a special supplement celebrating Turkey’s culture and diversity in the London Times. She also went on to appear on the cover of leading Spanish magazine Sons in a special edition on Turkey and she has appeared on numerous occasions on television and radio across Europe.

She has gone on to appear in films as well appearing first in “Gönül Yarasi-Heartache” directed by Yavuz Turgul in which she sang a moving rendition of a Kurdish folk song. In addition to her noteworthy performance, the film was all the more remarkable as it marked the first occasion in which a Turkish movie featured a song sung in Kurdish.

In 2005 Aynur, graced the screen again in Fatih Akin’s extraordinary documentary “Istanbul Hatirasi / Köprüyü Geçmek-Crossing the Bridges”. The film explores the rich diversity of the modern Turkish music scene. One of the absolute high points of the film was Aynur’s stunning studio rendition of a Kurdish folk ballad highlighting both her exquisite, powerful voice and tasteful saz playing. The international success of the film introduced her to even more audiences and earned her attention and praise from the media as well as appearances at a slew of international festivals.

2005 was also notable for her collaboration with the famed Nederlands Blazers Ensemble. The musical encounter was so fertile that it spawned Turqoise, a live album featuring highlights culled from the performances and released the following year. 2005 continued to be a landmark year as Aynur took part in La Mar de Musicas a festival in Cartagena, Spain which was dedicated to celebrating all aspects of Turkey’s rich literature, music and culture. She followed up her remarkable performance at the festival with her first tour of Spain.

She would return to Spain the following year as part of the World Music Exposition (WOMEX) in Seville after which she embarked on a whirlwind world tour which took her to Ireland, Singapore, the U.S, Canada, Portugal, Germany, Italy, France, Tunisia, Slovenia, Serbia, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Greece…etc

In 2008 Aynur took time out to lend her voice to a good cause recording a track for the album Güldünya. The project aimed to raise awareness about domestic violence and featured tracks from many of the leading female voices on the Turkish music scene today. That same year saw Aynur taking part in the World of Music Arts and Dance (WOMAD) the pre-eminent festival aimed at celebrating the world’s many and varied forms of music, arts and dance. Both of her performances at the two WOMAD events she participated in Caceres and Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, Spain were enthusiastically received by both audiences and critics.

2010 saw the young singer busier than ever. She sang at the opening ceremony kicking off Istanbul’s year as The European Capital of Culture. In late January she then went on to perform at the Küstendorf Film and Music Festival in Serbia organized by the renowned director Emir Kusturica. Her performance in front of an audience consisting of some of today’s leading actors and directors was very well received and earned her high praises.

Aynur released a brand new CD in 2010, her first in over 2 years. The latest album “Rewend” released by Sony Music was recorded mostly in Mainz, Germany.

Buy Rewend.