Music That Fills You Up | Part 1

This month we reconnected with AJ Fountain from the Colorado based folk jam band A Brother’s Fountain to talk about the next installment of their Only Music series — a collection of experiments involving the power of music. We last spoke to  AJ and the band in 2019 when they went on a musical expedition to South Africa with no money, food, or outside support whatsoever. All they had were their instruments, the clothes on their back, and an unbreakable spirit and determination to put the power of music to the test. They even stopped by the Playing For Change Foundation’s Imvula Music Program in Gugulethu along the way. Check out more about that trip here.


The Fill Me Up Tour

This next installment of the band’s Only music series is called the “Fill Me Up Tour” which will take the band on a road trip into the Southwest USA from May 7th until June 5th, 2021.

What fills you up? This is a question we asked ourselves after a long and lonely road that COVID-19 put us all through. Now, the world is opening back up, and we want to be filled back up, and know there are many who could also use a pick-me-up. This road trip will be filled with all of our favorite people (insert: best friends, strangers), activities (insert: climbing, rafting, backpacking, camping, busking), and some good old fashioned spontaneity (insert: costumes, random acts of kindness, pranks). 

-AJ Fountain, A Brother’s Fountain


What’s the purpose of the “Fill Me Up Tour?”
The concept was based on the premise of us wanting to explore our friendship in an intentional way and in the 1979 RV we had bought. We didn’t really want to pursue this trip in the traditional tour sense, with gigs lined up, so we had the crazy idea to play a pop up show every time we would need to get gas for our rig we affectionately call Ole’ Boy Georgie.  All along the way asking ourselves and others what actually fills us up in life?  And furthermore, are we actually filled up right now, because we found a lot of us are a little off with the Covid epidemic happening across the world.

How did you come up with that name?
It was the perfect mix of what we actually had to do, loads of fill ups on our 28 foot gas guzzler, and what we wanted to ask ourselves and others, what fills us up in life?

Why did you all decide to take this tour across the Southwest USA?
The Southwest USA was the perfect spot for us on this trip because we are at least vaguely acquainted with some of the areas after having lived in Colorado for 10+ years and taking voyages to explore the surrounding states.  We knew a bit of the epicness of places like Zion, Taos, the Grand Canyon, and Flagstaff, and were eager to explore more.

Where in the Southwest USA will you be traveling?
The trip is mostly outdoor recreation based as this is what we love.  We’re hitting New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and Utah.  So cities like Taos, Santa Fe, Flagstaff, and Moab. Basing our destinations largely around the most accessible places for our rig, and great places to camp, hike, backpack, raft and climb.

How will you decide where to stop to participate in activities and/or perform a pop-up concert?
We have an approximate itinerary that details all of the stops we’d like to hit and how many miles we need to go on each day, but we are definitely looking to stay open to opportunities to busk on the streets, play in local establishments, or jam with other musicians, in addition to our pop up concert at every gas station stop.  Also trying to leave ample time for stops to see various vistas and roadside attractions.

What instruments will you be bringing?
We have our Ovation guitar and bass which are durable and awesome.  A djembe, briefcase kick drum, and whatever instrument the different bandmates bring as they come for different portions, which will include a banjo, mandolin, saxophone and cello. We will do one battery powered amp for the bass, but the rest acoustic at the gas station concerts.

What do you hope to take away from this tour?
I’d like to stay open to what all could be learned from the journey, but foundationally I’d like to grow closer with my best friends and bandmates, play music for people pumping their gas and try to brighten their day a bit, and explore the beautiful landscapes and nature we are blessed with in Southwest USA.

How can we follow your journey?
We’ll be doing stories and going live on FB and Insta to keep folks updated.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abrothersfountain
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/a.brothers.fountain
www.abrothersfountain.com


Be sure to follow A Brother’s Fountain on their journey and join us next month as we follow up with them to hear all about their trip. In the meantime, tell us, what fills you up?

One Love,

PFC

Rocky Dawuni visits PFCF Bizung School

Bizung School Program Director Mohammed Alidu and Rocky Dawuni in front of the Bizung School.

Earlier this month the students and teachers at the Playing For Change Foundation’s Bizung School of Music and Dance in Tamale, Ghana received a pleasant surprise with a visit from Grammy nominated Ghanaian recording artist Rocky Dawuni. Rocky is a long time supporter and friend of the PFC movement who’s been featured in a few of our videos including the Song Around The World “War/No More Trouble.”

PFC Communications Director and Producer J. Marie Jones caught up with Rocky after his visit to learn a bit about his trip:

J. Marie: What inspired you to visit the students at the Bizung School?

Rocky: I have always wanted to visit the Playing For Change Bizung School in Tamale because I am also from the northern part of Ghana. My collaborations with Playing For Change made it something that I needed to eventually do. I had travelled to my native village of Bunbon while on my way back the opportunity came for me to meet up with Alidu Muhammed and visit the school while doing press in Tamale for my new EP “Voice of Bunbon, Vol. 1”

J. Marie: Did you perform for and/or with the students? If so, what songs?

Rocky: I got the opportunity to listen to the student showcase some of their original compositions which are based on indigenous local styles. I then collaborated in a jam session with the students which was wonderful.

J. Marie: Please describe your experience at the school?

Rocky: I was very impressed by the dedication of the students. I had the rare opportunity of having a deep conversation with them about the trials of choosing music as a life path especially in such a musically conservative environment. I also shared with them my own personal stories and how I overcame similar situations with the sheer force of my determination, dedication and love of music. 

J. Marie: What was the highlight of your visit at the school?

Rocky: The highlight of my visit to Bizung School was when I jumped on percussion and started jamming with all of the students who were playing xylophones along with Alidu Muhammed on percussion. We created a beautiful piece together. 

Rocky playing music with Bizung students

 

J. Marie: Why is it important to share music with the younger generations?

Rocky: Music is an important tool to create generational connection. Music also allows the transference and sharing of ideas. Ultimately, music serves as a tool to inspire all of us to be better at what we do.

Rocky Dawuni and Mohammed Alidu with members of the Bizung community.

All of us here at Playing For Change and our partners at the Playing For Change Foundation want to send a big THANK YOU to Rocky and his manager Cary for making this possible. The community at the Bizung School will cherish this day for years to come! To find out how you can support music schools and programs such as the Bizung School, please visit playingforchange.org.

One love from Rocky Dawuni and Mohammed Alidu

Luke Winslow-King & Roberto Luti Unite for Livestream Event


UPDATE: Special guests added —

Clarence Bekker, Making Movies, Lanita Smith, and Max Gomez

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Luke Winslow-King and Roberto Luti are reuniting for a special online event on April 10th that will feature special guests from around the world. The show, titled “United,” will celebrate Luke and Roberto’s return to the stage after the musical dry spell that was 2020.

In speaking about the online event, Luke says, “Roberto Luti and I are finally back playing live music again and are super excited to present this one-time, livestream event.” He continues, “Roberto and I are coming back to the stage with renewed appreciation, tons of new music, and feel privileged to partake in the live music experience with you once again. Very few people are able to attend our limited capacity tour here in Spain; and with the shows sold out, we thought it would be best to bring the show to you live and direct!”

This event will be a high definition, multi-camera broadcast brought to you in partnership with Playing For Change. Luke and Roberto are determined to deliver a high-energy performance celebrating the coming renaissance of live music culture. The show will air on April 10th at 9pm CET/3pm EST; and will include performances from special guests, who will be announced in the coming weeks – bringing their talents from across the globe.


Luke Winslow-King is a New Orleans-based guitarist, singer, producer, and songwriter. His work is an eclectic mix that combines Mississippi delta blues, folk music, traditional jazz, and roots rock & roll. His alchemical songs blend contemporary ideas with styles from bygone eras producing a sound that is rustic and urbane, elegant and entirely his own. Luke and Roberto Luti, fronting member of the Playing For Change band, met back in 2002 in New Orleans, and have been writing, touring, and recording together for more than a dozen years.

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She is Woman Enough | Celebrating International Women’s Day

Each year, March 8th is designated as International Women’s Day, a day that we celebrate and honor women all over the world but also bring women’s rights to the forefront and rally for gender equality. This day has been celebrated throughout the world on various dates for more than a century with the first United Nations’ celebration taking place in 1975—International Women’s Year. In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to officially recognize the day.

This year’s theme, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world,” aligns with the UN Women’s Generation Equality Campaign which, according the the UN Women website, “calls for women’s right to decision-making in all areas of life, equal pay, equal sharing of unpaid care and domestic work, an end all forms of violence against women and girls, and health-care services that respond to their needs.”

Women’s rights are human rights so the responsibility to bring about change lies with all of us. Playing For Change stands with our sisters all around the world as we work together to create an equal and just future for women and girls. Will you join us?


She is Woman Enough

In honor of women everywhere, we’re proud to share a new song from our friend and PFC Band member Vasti Jackson—”She is Woman Enough.”  Vasti’s recent visit to Rwanda inspired him to collaborate with locals, international musicians, and singers across the world in an effort to highlight the beauty and culture of Africa—”She is Woman Enough” is a result of that collaboration. The song features Vasti surrounded by a global cast of women including Keiko Komaki on piano, Claire Finley on bass, and Maya Kyles on drums and is part of a larger project to support girls’ education and empowerment across Africa and beyond.

Vasti gives a special dedication to his mother for being one of his inspirations for the song. “My Mother, like many Mothers across the globe, are our first source of inspiration, and extraordinary human beings, that are the true definition of ‘She is Women Enough,'” says Vasti. “They instill in us, a believe that we are more than enough to achieve anything in life we sincerely pursue.” He dedicates the song to women all across the globe and encourages men to “let the song be a reminder to be thankful, protective, and supportive to our daughters, sisters, girlfriends, mothers, and wives.”


Help support women and girls:

UN Women Website

International Women’s Day Community

Donate to the Playing For Change Foundation’s Mother’s Society program