SICK of overcrowded spaces, heavy entry fees and an overdose of the inescapable Bollywood influence at Mumbai’s music gigs? Playing for Change Day, a global, international day of music that will put the melody first, and all else, except the idea of making a difference, later, is here to bring pure music back to the fore.
On September 17, musicians from across the world — 25 countries, at last count — will perform in city squares and cafés, on stages, and street corners to raise money to bring music into the lives of young people. In Mumbai, you can be a part of the movement at Mehboob Studio and Bandra Reclamation. “It’s an amazing opportunity,” is how musician KC Loy, who will be performing on the day, puts it. During his half hour- long rendition of Hindi, English and Marathi tracks, Loy expects a large turnout. “Music has often tried to bring about a change in society, and to be part of a global movement like this is great. I’m going to perform some uplifting tracks that keep people on their feet and contribute to a sense of well- being”, he says. And that is the objective of the event too. “The funds raised will go towards supporting Playing for Change’s global efforts in bringing about social change through music,” says Shauna Murray, Head, Marketing Communications, Playing for Change. A global multimedia music project created by American producer and sound engineer Mark Johnson’s Timeless Media Group in 2004, Playing for Change brought together musicians, and also created a non- profit organization called the Playing For Change Foundation to build music schools for children around the world. This year’s event carries the theme, Power to the People, drawing its inspiration from the spirit of John Lennon’s activism, thanks to gracious support of Playing for Change’s mission by Theatre Within and his wife, Yoko Ono. On this first annual Playing for Change day, Mumbai will also see Hindi pop rock outfit Airport, Bay Beat Collective, a dubstep and bass act, and 4 piece hip hop band Bombay Bassment take the stage in an effort to connect the world through music. Bombay Bassment’s drummer, Levin Mendes is understandably excited about the event, and says they’ve come up with new material specifically for this gig. “We’ve been playing a lot of gigs with our old set, but for this 30- minute performance, we’ll be doing a new set of six songs.” It is about the music, but it’s also about what happens after. “ We are in the process of setting up more schools, but to date, seven music schools and programmers have been created in countries including South Africa, Ghana, Mali, Rwanda, and Nepal,” shares Murray.The Mumbai leg of the event has been organised in association with Live from the Console, an initiative of Sony Music Independent and Orangejuice Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. A monthly coming together of fresh musical talent and like- minded people in a no- frills set up, the inaugural July 16 edition, of the event at Mehboob Studios saw a screening of the new Foo Fighters documentary film Back And Forth, and performances by Alex Rintu, The Mavyns and The Colour. “We were overwhelmed by the reaction to the first edition. There were a good 80 people who showed up just to watch the documentary,” admits Jayesh Veralkar, Label Head, Day 1 ( Sony Music Independent). This time around, they will screen Peace through Music. “The documentary is inspiring and explains the story and concept behind Playing for Change. It features some awesome music performances from all over the world. We believe the documentary will set the tone for the evening as well as provide context,” he feels. The idea, besides being part of a movement to change the world through music, is also to promote the indie scene in the city. “There is definitely an active indie scene in the club/ pub space. But music as a community activity is still something the indie scene lacks. Live from the Console was born because of this gap. The Console is a no frills, no VIP sections, no guest list, it is a space where music is actually put first,” explains Veralkar. Owen Roncon, director, Orange juice Entertainment, agrees. “We believe such an initiative will allow people to listen to live music the way it’s meant to be heard, and in return support indie talent.” That, and change the world, one song at a time will go on till midnight.