Thursday, April 30, 2009

Playing For Change

Playing For Change | Song Around The World "Stand By Me" from Concord Music Group on Vimeo.

"Stand By Me" Around the World

From the Concord Music Group.

This is such a great idea. I love street music. I've done it off and on my entire life. In San Francisco, San Diego, L.A., New Orleans, and many other cities, even while on tour, I would sneak off with a guitar and a case to leave open, and just play for who ever happened to be passing by.

As a performer there simply is not a more immediate medium. The street lets you know what works, and what doesn't. There's no better way that I've found to take the pulse of a community and find out what they like to hear.

If you can make folks in a subway, or park, stop their point A to point B travels long enough to listen to what you're playing you've accomplished something great.

Many Christmas seasons I would set my harp up in a shopping mall or other high traffic area and play carols. I would see the music touch people on a very deep and primal level. A lot of that has to do with the harp itself. Harps are the first stringed instrument, and almost every culture of humans has them in one form or another. They reach us right into the guts.

Playing harp in a mall, I would see people burdened down by the bustle and tension of the highly commercial season, see the tension on their faces and watch as the pure notes of the harp grabbed them, made them stop. I would see them relax a bit, see the tensions slide out of them. It was a beautiful thing to see.

One of the things I've been planning to do at NetRoots is to park myself outside the venue, with a guitar, and an open case and just see who stops.

Enjoy ya'll.