PFC Songs “Stand By Me” and “United” performed live with 100 classical musicians (featuring Clarence Bekker and Tula)

Conductor Philippe Fournier gathered over 100 musicians onstage in the city of Lyon, France, to perform the Playing For Change anthem “Stand By Me” along with the original PFC video. Philippe’s symphony orchestra, “l’Orchestre Confluences” as well as musicians from different horizons including PFC band members Tula and Clarence Bekker met for an incredible concert. Here are the videos of these amazing renditions of “Stand By me” and “United.”

One Love





News from our School in Mali

A day with Guem, Student at the Kirina Music School

In October 2010, the Playing For Change Foundation opened its second music school in West Africa: L’école de Musique de Kirina, in Mali, located in a small village 30 km out of capital city Bamako. Kirina is a unique village, as most of its inhabitants are griots, who are the keepers of the oral tradition and history. We couldn’t have dreamed of a better place in this country to build the school.

Every week, close to 200 children attend free classes in traditional instruments, dance, English and French. Since 2012, Mali has gone through several serious political issues, and more recently, has experienced the threat and fear of seeing the Ebola virus develop in the country. Although Malian political situation has improved and Ebola hasn’™t spread there, the last few years have brought uncertainties and worries for our staff. I just came back from a 10- day trip to Mali and, as always, it was a fantastic and life changing experience. Malian people are truly among the nicest people I’ve ever met, and so far away from the image traditional media often delivers of them.

The impact of the music school on the village has been quite amazing.In addition to providing music education to the youth and helping to preserve a cultural knowledge that traces back through centuries of oral history and music, the school has generated unexpected initiatives such has the implementation of 300 solar panels in the village by the Malian government and the building of a maternity ward in the village. We also found a great water source in the village and drilled a well, thanks to the support of our generous donors, and the Malian government then took the initiative to build a well with solar pump and water tank..

Here are two videos introducing some of the people behind this project. The first will introduce you to Guem, one of our students living in Bamako but regularly coming to the school to study kora. Like for many children in the village, and as he says in his own words, “the music school has totally changed [his] life.” Get to know Guem’s experience, thoughts and concerns and discover some of his reality through this short video.


The second video here introduces Seidou Koné, one of our music teachers who rides 30 km round trip by bike twice a week to come teach at the school to share his talent with our students. Seidou received us at his home with his family and talks about his personal experience as a part of the project and how it has changed the way he is being seen in his village.

We’ve also brought new recording equipment to the music school: a brand new and powerful laptop, an amazing USB microphone , and great headphones and accessories in order to start recording workshops at the school. Our recently-recruited sound engineer, Bakoré, aka Mande Follo Sissoko, is going to come to the school twice a week to record our students and teachers and lead the recording workshops. We’ll share our first recordings with you very soon!

Click on the images below to access the photo gallery of this recent trip.

One love and “Vive le Mali”


Listen to a selection of great music from Mali:

The making of Lean on Me

Playing For Change releases “Lean On Me” around the world for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s “œArt of Saving a Life” campaign, an effort to improve children’s health across the globe.

This past January we released a new video that we had actually started a few years ago on the streets of New Orleans with PFC legends, Grandpa Elliott and Renard Poché. The streets of New Orleans have been the birthplace of some of PFC’™s greatest recordings, and the soul of this city lives on in the music. When Grandpa Elliott sings “œjust call on me brother when you need a hand” and you imagine the thousands of people he has sung for in the past – all those smiles and moments of joy and possibility – you can clearly understand how music can change the world. It can change the world because it can change us. We are the ones we have been waiting for, each of us is here to help the other grow and live in a peaceful world with love and health and, of course, music!!

One Love,


The PFC Band in Byron Bay: Tula & Roberto share some thoughts about their experience playing at the Bluesfest

For the third year in a row the PFC Band will be playing at the Byron Bay Bluesfest in Australia. See you soon at the Bluesfest. (April 2nd-April 6th)


“When I think of Byron Bay Bluesfest, the first thing that comes to my mind is the Festival’s unique staff. The way each and every one of them receives us with a true smile, an outstanding care and fun vibes, always. The most professional stage crew, the amazing cooks who always feed us with healthy and tasty meals, the drivers with their patience, the volunteers who work so hard and make it work every time with their desire to help.
The festival is so well organized that you can really tell the 25 years of experience it has, because of the attention and the thought behind every little detail. It is so special in the way it makes you feel a part of this wonderful big family and that makes us play with with love and fun and just want to bring those good vibrations on stage and pass it on to the audience. I can’t wait to be back! It feels like coming home in a way….”

“This will be my 3rd year at Byron Bay. I remember my first time there, and how when I arrived it was even better than what I expected. We stayed at a hotel by a secluded beach, and on our way to the venue we drove through beautiful forests and countryside. I also love the easygoing, joyful vibe of the staff and the musicians at the festival. The musicians all hang out in a common area, so I’ve had a chance to meet some of my heroes, like Taj Mahal. It doesn’t take much time before someone picks up a drum, another a guitar, and we end up jamming with talented artists like Joss Stone. Performing onstage at Byron Bay is amazing. You hit the first note and you know it’s going to be a high energy set; the crowd is on fire! This festival is one of the highlights of my experiences playing music.”