Blues, Gospel, Reggae and Afro-pop will fill the Ordway’s Music Theater when the Playing for Change band brings its musical message of peace to Saint Paul on February 12, 7:30 p.m. at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, 345 Washington Street, St. Paul, MN 55102.
Playing for Change is a worldwide phenomenon having started as a PBS documentary called “Playing for Change: Peace Through Music” with a mission to inspire, connect and make the world a better place through the vehicle of music. Documentary producer Mark Johnson shares a common belief with the musicians of Playing for Change that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people.
No matter whether people come from different geographic, political, economic, spiritual or ideological backgrounds, music has the universal power to transcend and unite us as one human race.
After the successful documentary, Playing for Change artists joined together as an international musical collective for a live music performance. Thanks to its wild success, the band continued its visionary path by starting an international tour to introduce the mission of Playing for Change and share music with individuals all across the globe.
The talented artists in the Playing for Change band have worked with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Herbie Hancock, Aaron Neville, Fred Wesley, Ziggy Marley, Toots Hibbert, Don Henley, Keb Mo, Jackson Browne, and have also worked on movies such as “Barbershop,” “Crazy Heart,” “Walk the Line,” and the musical “City Kid.”
The Playing for Change artists will offer a global mix of cultures and rhythms that feature original songs written for Playing for Change’s two albums along with reinterpretations of internationally loved recordings. Appearing at the Ordway will be musical artists Grandpa Elliott (Louisiana); Clarence Milton Bekker (Netherlands); Mermans Mosengo (Congo);Jason Tamba (Congo); Ruth “Titi” Tsira (South Africa); Peter Bunetta (California);Reggie McBride (Michigan); Tom Canning (New York); and Renard Poche (Louisiana).
Surrounding Playing for Change’s engagement in Saint Paul, the Ordway and Minnesota Public Radio are teaming up to provide a special, free screening of the PBS documentary, including an interview with producer Mark Johnson on Monday, January 23. For more information and to RSVP, visit http://minnesota.publicradio.org/events/.
The Ordway Extra prior to Playing for Change’s public performance on February 12 starts at 6:30 p.m. and features Congolese musician Siama Matuzungidi, singer/cultural weaver Mankwe Ndosi, and Tibetan musician Tenzin Ngawang. They will share their music and stories from around the globe and will talk about the uniting force that music and the arts have on our global society. Following the public performance, all ticket holders are welcome to join the company for music and mingling during the post-show party in the Marzitelli Foyer.
The Ordway is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading nonprofit performing arts centers and Saint Paul’s most elegant and inviting performance space.
The Ordway’s Music Theater and McKnight stages attract diverse audiences with an array of productions showcasing the finest in American musical theater, world music, dance and vocal performance. Education and community engagement are integral to the Ordway’s mission, with major initiatives including the annual Flint Hills International Children’s Festival and Ordway
Education programs that serve more than 50,000 students annually. The Ordway also serves as authorizer for the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, a professionally guided academic and artistic environment that trains aspiring pre-professional performing artists.
Together with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Opera and The Schubert Club, the Ordway is a member of the Arts Partnership and serves as the principal venue for their performances.