This February, Matías Medús, a musician, producer, and recording technician from the Alamo Studio in General Roca, Rio Black, Argentina, will set off on a trip in order to record music of the world. Armed with a small recording system, some instruments, and an iPhone 7; Matías will begin his trip in London recording musicians and artists who walk through the world, in towns, villages and large cities.
We chatted with Mati about his upcoming journey:
PFC: What / Who inspired you to travel the world and record/film musicians?
Matías: The greatest source of inspiration is undoubtedly Playing For Change. Showing the world with its huge diversity and finding strength from these differences to convey a single message through music is really wonderful. On the other hand, having traveled several places and having met such wonderful musicians with stories so incredible, it motivates me to go to meet them, and with my other passion of recording and producing, I hope to share these melodies and stories that ring around the world.
PFC: How long will you travel and what countries/places will you be visiting?
Matías: The first few months I’ll be in the UK, Iceland, and Scandinavia, and will plan the trip from there as I go. The trips are constant movements in every way. I’ll let the music and finding people guide the way to go. Similarly, in relation to the duration, there’s no scheduled time.
PFC: Why did you choose London as the first location?
Matías: London is a wonderful place for artistic life. It is a fundamental step for nomadic musicians from the world and has an incredible musical history with its streets, bars, and corners. I certainly find in the streets and scenes big stories that deserve to be shared with the world.
PFC: What does “Playing For Change” mean to you?
Matías: Playing For Change is an absolute inspiration. When you think about it, it is a wonderful proposal, but when we move a little in this world, this message and this work is really an invitation to be part of that philosophy of life, that way of living music, traveling and meeting other people, whether musicians or not. Knowing Playing For Change allowed me to dream of my own project, which is “Music Wanderer,” and inspired me to go out to the world to record those great unknown musicians who have so much to say in their songs.
PFC: Day 1 upon arrival, where do you go?
Matías: On the street. That will be the first look at the nomadic artistic community in London. I am also mindful to explore different scenarios and social networks that will be of great help to know the proper motion of the places where the musicians are moving.
PFC: How do you plan to meet new people?
Matías: There is no recipe to meet people. It’s about being open-minded and letting our spirit enable us to add new stories to ourselves. Music does not need translation dictionaries or large presentations. It flows and I hope my instruments, recording equipment and my desire to meet the music of the world are a door to know the people I need to know in order to make this truly enriching musical adventure and both my music. My project, “Music Wanderer,” taps into all musicians who want or have something to tell from his melodies.
PFC: What will make this trip a success in your eyes? What do you hope to accomplish?
Matías: Success is everchanging. “Music Wanderer” is the engine and the cornerstone of this journey around the world to make a real connection with other musicians and their stories. To show this through recordings is the big goal.
“One evening, a few years ago in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, the PFC crew and I were waiting for an 80-year-old cuica player to perform on a Song Around The World. I remember it seemed to take forever for him to make it down the hill, as he would stop off in every bar along the way for a drink and some conversation. As we waited I looked and saw a Rastaman walking across the street with his acoustic guitar in hand. I waved to him and he came over to see what we were doing with all our equipment. I told him about Playing For Change and he agreed to play a song for us while we were waiting. The result was an incredible, spontaneous performance of Dennis Brown’s ‘Rasta Children.’ His voice reminded me of Peter Tosh and he sang with so much soul that we realized this could be an amazing Song Around The World. Just one man and his guitar playing on the street set the tone for this song and we added a worldwide band of roots musicians around him. ‘I and I deal with humanity…'”
– Mark Johnson, PFC Co-Founder
Rasta Children’s Roots
“Rasta Children” was released in 1979 by Dennis Brown, who was known as The Crown Prince of Reggae. One of Bob Marley’s favorite singers, Brown led a prolific career having recorded more than 75 albums throughout the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. It was actually in Brazil where his journey would end—falling ill with pneumonia in 1999 and dying of a collapsed lung days later. Yet, while his physical journey on this earth would come to a close, his musical legacy continues to live on years later thanks to a chance encounter in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil.
With help from 16 different musicians across 6 different countries, PFC’s rendition of “Rasta Children” is a beautiful melting pot of talent. Of course, the Rastaman mentioned above is Paulo César “da Luz” Pereira, whom we met back in 2011. As he was the true inspiration for this Song Around The World, we are lucky considering all of the forces that allowed our paths to cross. Had it not been for the popularity of the 80-year-old cuica player, we may never have been able to capture such an organic and truly special performance, nor could we have gone on to share it with musicians and supporters around the world.
This meeting shows us the beauty in the world just waiting to be discovered, and the chance encounters that bring these moments to reality. One such story is that of another musician in this collaboration, Brushy One String, who began his career many years ago as a street musician in Jamaica. With an uncanny similarity to PFC’s earliest beginnings, a filmmaker named Luciano Blotta was leaving a Jamaican recording studio when he noticed a man on the corner playing an old acoustic guitar with only one string. After recording his song, “Chicken in the Corn,” Blotta left Jamaica only to find the video blow up on the internet with thousands of people suddenly showing their love and support for Brushy. Since then, he has led a full career performing in places like France, Argentina, Japan, and the U.S., while continuing to play throughout Jamaica. It seemed only fitting, then, that Brushy join with PFC to record “Rasta Children” in his hometown of Ocho Rios, and continue to promote a life dedicated to peace and unity through music:
“If we can change the words and melodies and bring back the love, we can have a balance between God and man,” Brushy reflects. “That’s what we need to put the world together.”
Very much in frequency with Rasta Children’s nature sits Nattali Rize, a roots-rock-and-reggae rebel queen who has earned international fame as a singer/songwriter and social activist. Beginning as a street percussionist in Byron Bay, Australia, her career has grown through her dedication to an urban roots collective, Blue King Brown, and on to building her own band, changing her name from Natalie Pa’apa’a to Nattali Rize to reflect Bob Marley’s lyrics for “Rise Up.” With an emboldened attitude, Nattali Rize’s performances are praised for their, “epic, high energy, thought-provoking and uplifting live performances,” (Nattali Rize). Another featured musician in “Rasta Children” that deserves just as much credit to the success of Nattali Rize is Carlo Santone, a bandmate, manager, and partner of Nattali’s, who has worked with her since 2004.
Currently, Nattali Rize is just coming off a West Coast California tour, and will continue performing her latest album, Rebel Frequency, throughout France until the end of August. The full album is available by following the link above, and it boasts just as much of its Rastafarian roots while blending her own New-Era style and humanitarian message.
“Never forget, we are one human family and no one, man or woman or child, is illegal. We are the pioneers of a paradigm change and creators of a new world!”
We are introducing a new feature on the Playing For Change website. Now on musician pages, along with photos, featured videos, and related links and musician accounts, we will also be promoting individual tours and shows happening around the world. You can view our entire musician tour schedule by following the musician tour dates link above, as well as access individual events by searching for your favorite artists’ PFC page.
While this is an ongoing process, you can expect more tour information to be uploaded and updated regularly as we are always collecting new and amazing musicians. One of our longtime friends, Roberto Luti, will be performing in Denmark with Luke Winslow-King this August. Find more information about these events by following the link provided.