It was a whirlwind trip to Mali for the Playing For Change crew, but what an amazing experience– and what unbelievable music! We were only in the country for a total of 48 hours, but in that time we accomplished more than we could have possibly hoped for. Our first morning in Mali we traveled to the Griot village of Kirina and were met by a reception the likes of which none of us were prepared for (Mark Johnson will post about this experience in the next few days). Crena will be the site of the Playing For Change Foundation’s next music school, and development is set to begin in the end of January!
The Foundation’s work in Mali is being coordinated by Mahamadou Diabate, who is a beautiful man and a very talented percussionist. Our first night in Mali he introduced us to his brother, Toumani Diabate, who is arguably the best kora player in the world. For our team it was off to the races from there.
Toumani invited us out to dinner and we discussed the project and our dream of adding him to one of our Songs Around the World (which we did!). The next day Toumani invited us to stay at his home and arranged for us to record a symphony of coras. Later that same day Mahamadu organized a performance by his percussion and dance troupe that was out of this world. And to commemorate the occasion, Toumani made a very generous gift to the Playing For Change crew of a sheep (who we lovingly nicknamed “Little Jon,” in honor of Jonathan Walls).
But that was yesterday. Now, four countries, three flights, a pair of taxis, and a train ride later we find ourselves at the first Playing For Change Band rehearsal for our upcoming shows in Spain. Joining the group that just finished a tour across North America are Tula, Roberto Luti, Stefano Tomaselli, Hugo Soares, Pierre Minetti, Francois Viguie, Venkat, “Sinamuva”
(the beautiful choir from Umlazi, South Africa), and the incomparable Reggie Mcbride.
After 24 hours of straight travel we were all tired, but the energy we were greeted with when we walked in the door to the rehearsal space an hour ago gave us such a boost that no one is thinking about sleep (although a shower does still sound nice). We have a show in Seville on the 11th and another in Madrid on the 17th. Everyone’s spirits are soaring, and the energy is through the roof. If you have any friends in Spain, spread the word that these two shows are not to be missed!
Peace and Love from Seville!
Playing for Change grew from a humble dream to make the world a little brighter, and now supports musicians all over the world. For only $5 a month, become a Member and enjoy the entire PFC music catalogue, receive discounts in our shop, and know 20% of your Membership is donated directly to the Playing for Change Foundation.