You’re going to start out thinking, “OK, but this is so Ry Cooder, and then end up cruising iTunes with 99 cents in your hot little fist.
Mark Johnson is a film maker who has given considerable life force to Playing for Change: Music for Peace, his movie and his dream of a better world, involving over 100 musicians from all over the planet including some of the most violence challenged regions. Johnson reports that in one location someone said to him, “The last person who knew why we were fighting died a long time ago.” A video from the movie is embedded below (jai and blessings, Cherie!).
Johnson was recently a guest on PBS’s Bill Moyers Journal, and an excerpt of that interview will echo themes from this month’s blog. Because the universe is like that.
BILL MOYERS: What in the world prompted you to do this?
MARK JOHNSON: The idea came about ten years ago, here in New York City. I was in a subway station on my way to work. You know, every day in the subway, people are just running around like crazy to get wherever they have to go.
BILL MOYERS: Oh, tell me about it.
MARK JOHNSON: But this particular day, I was in the subway and I heard these two monks playing music. And they were painted head to toe, all in white, wearing robes. And one of them was playing a nylon guitar and the other one was singing in a language that I didn’t understand and I imagine most people didn’t understand.
BILL MOYERS: Everybody was just standing around. I’ve done that. Yeah.
MARK JOHNSON: You know, there were about 200 people just stopped. Didn’t get on the train and started watching this music. And I looked around and I saw people with tears in their eyes. And I saw jaw dropping. And I just saw this collection. And it occurred to me that here is a group of people that would normally run by each other. And here they are, collectively coming together. And it’s the music that brought them together.
So it really inspired me. And it occurred to me that when there’s no separation between music and people, when music is just happening and people can walk by and it can affect them, that this is an opportunity for us to really find a way to bring people together.
BILL MOYERS: A hundred musicians took part, right?
MARK JOHNSON: Yes. Yes.
BILL MOYERS: Ten years, it took you.
MARK JOHNSON: Ten years it took me.
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.