The international multimedia movement Playing for Change started in 2004 when sound engineer Mark Johnson happened to hear street musician Roger Ridley performing on the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, Calif. It inspired Johnson to record Ridley’s version of Ben E. King’s classic “Stand by Me” and unite the world through music by overdubbing other musicians from different cultures around the globe.
Nine years and 75 videos later, Playing for Change has found its way to Dayton, where the husband-and-wife team of Michael and Sandy Bashaw spearheaded a local video that premiered on Friday, June 28.
The powerful clip, shot on location in various spots around town, was posted online at Playingforchange.com and the organization’s Facebook page. It will also be playing on video monitors during this weekend’s Cityfolk Festival, where the Bashaw’s group Puzzle of Light performs at 1 p.m. Sunday.
The Cityfolk Festival began on Friday and continues today and Sunday.
“There are a lot of different nationalities here in town and others are moving here, too,” Sandy Bashaw said. “According to the Welcome Dayton-Immigrant Friendly City Initiative, the immigrant population is starting businesses twice as often as native Daytonians. They’re coming here starting businesses and fixing up the houses. It’s really brilliant for Dayton to recognize the inflow of energy. We saw this project as tying into that and through Jean Berry at Cityfolk we began meeting with different people.”
The video, produced with filmmaker David Sherman and audio engineer Tim Berger, is based around the original Puzzle of Light song “Where There Is Love.” The bluesy worldbeat tune about overcoming prejudice and intolerance is the perfect backdrop for the project. The Bashaws and bandmates John Taylor, Erich Reith and Dick Roll are joined by a cross-cultural assortment of more than 25 local performers such as Gina Stough from Son del Caribe, Frank Dixon, Jay Martinez, the Burundi Royal Court Drummers, Tom Carroll of Seefari, Michael Kotur and Rick Good and Sharon Leahy from Shoefly.
“All the other Playing for Change videos are all pretty much international, but the idea was to have all Dayton musicians,” Bashaw said. “We thought it was a natural with Welcome Dayton starting here in town. That really appealed to us and I’d like to see if we can add a few more chapters to the project.”
Toward the end of Puzzle of Light’s 90-minute Cityfolk Festival set on Sunday, the group will be joined by many of the video participants for an extended version of “Where There Is Love.”
“We’ll be bringing people up throughout the concert, but we’ll have 20 musicians up on stage for the finale,” Michael Bashaw said. “That’s a little nuts, but I’m really looking forward to it.”
How to go
What: Puzzle of Light at the Cityfolk Festival
Where: RiverScape MetroPark, 111 E. Monument Ave., Dayton
When: 1 p.m. Sunday
Cost: Festival admission is $7 per day for adults, $3 for children ages 2-12, free for children 2 and younger. Weekend passes $17 adults, $6 children 2-12.
More info: (937) 223-3655, www.cityfolk.org
Artist info: www.puzzleoflight.com
How to watch
What: Puzzle of Light’s Playing for Change video
Where: www.playingforchange.com or www.facebook.com/playingforchange