The uncertainty of the youth and the hunger for change.
“Waiting On The World To Change” was described as an attempt to voice John Mayer’s feelings of helplessness to make a change and how those feelings impacted his generation.
John Mayer - Waiting On the World to Change (Official Video)
In the original video, we are taken to a grayscale version of Manhattan, where John is seen strolling along the bayside as numerous young artists use their own media to create what appears to be sketches for street art.
Young men begin gathering supplies to create street graffiti, writing various messages all around the city, such as "Wake Up" on neighborhood walls and "Exploited" on billboards and building tops.
This hunger for change is what motivated us to bring this song back to life; we need to advocate for justice and peace now more than ever. It is up to us to get out of seeing monotony in everyday problems and see the wide range of vibrant colors that our world sorely needs right now. We won't be able to quit waiting and actually make a change until we realize that change is on us.
In this transcendent rendition of John Mayer's iconic anthem, musicians from diverse corners of the globe unite their talents and voices to inspire change. This heartfelt call to action is a reminder to us all that the time for change is now.
At the heart of this collaboration lies a shared belief: that music has the power to transcend boundaries and inspire a collective movement.
With that being said, take a look at the advocates of change through this musician spotlight of our newest Song Around The World, “Waiting On The World To Change!”
Waiting on the World to Change | Song Around The World | Playing For Change
Location: Los Angeles, California.
John Henry Ryan II, aka JRY, pursued a music career in Los Angeles at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. By his early 20s, he was already one of pop music’s most in-demand songwriters, with chart-topping singles for artists such as Harry Styles, Maroon 5, David Guetta, Thomas Rhett, John Legend, Pitbull, Jason Derulo, Charlie Puth, Rudimental, Fifth Harmony, Cody Simpson, Nick Jonas, and Niall Horan, among others.
John The Blind - Two Months (Official Video)
His influences? Numerous artists like Booker T. & the M.G.'s, Elvis Presley, Elvis Costello, Radiohead, The Beatles, MGMT, and Julian Casablancas.
John The Blind - Hallelujah
As a songwriter, his most popular album productions and the ones he had more influence on are the following (we’re sure you've heard these songs at least once): 😉
Albums: Midnight Memories, Take Me Home (“She’s Not Afraid”, “Loved You First”), Four, Made in the A.M.
Album: Red Pill Blues
Listen to more of his singles from his personal project, John the Blind!
Location: Saitama, Japan
Hiro Hayashida is an excellent percussionist, teacher, and composer. He is an artist who has the musical ability to create compositions that are very difficult to find in the taiko (drum) world. He especially has the rare ability to produce musical taiko ensembles that are one-of-a-kind in this genre of music.
Born in Nagasaki, Hiro has been an active member of the internationally renowned taiko group, KODO. For seven years since 1985, the group has performed on more than 800 stages all over the world. He was also a member of the TAKIO Band for two years, in which he played together with Takio Ito, one of the most famous Minyo (folk) singers in Japan.
In 2004, Hayashida alongside his produced group “Samurai Music ZI-PANG” performed at the Japanese Academy Awards. His activities in the U.S started in 2008, when he performed in the music video “Princess of China” by Coldplay featuring Rihanna.Kodo - "O-Daiko"
Location: Paraty, Brazil
Alana Alberg, born in Tietê, São Paulo, Brazil, is a professional bass player and teacher currently residing in Rio de Janeiro.
Did you know? Alana reunited with Mark Johnson and the PFC Crew on their journey to Brazil, and you can watch it now here!
Having picked up the bass at the age of 13, Alana boasts a diverse range of professional experiences in various musical genres. She has lent her talents to musical theater, TV productions, studio recordings, and numerous live bands encompassing metal, rock, bossa nova, funk, soul, and more.
Alana Alberg - Jamiroquai (Time Won't Wait Cover)
Location: Lanzhou, China
Having been playing pipa since she was five, Jie Ma is no stranger to the rigorous training and precise techniques required to become a virtuoso in traditional Chinese music. Now, Jie is blending the classics with the avant-garde, the structured with the impromptu, and the old sound with new techniques.
Jie Ma - Pipa solo improvisation
How did you meet PFC? And how did you feel working with us?
I tried to get in contact with PFC in all the ways I could think of once I learned of its existence. I had a great experience working with the producers and recording artists. Thank you for having me! 🙂
When and how did you get involved with music?
I guess I got involved with music before I was even born. My mother played music all the time when I was still in her belly. I started to play pipa and other Chinese instruments when I was five. My first teacher was my mother, who is a great educator for Chinese traditional music instruments.
What does music mean to you?
Music makes me, me. Most of the changes and decisions I have made in my life are related to music. I am grateful for everything I have gained and experienced from learning, practicing, composing, and performing music.
Location: Madrid, Spain
We have previously covered this talented guitarist from Spain, but in case you missed it, we definitely recommend you check out, The Best of Mark’s Park, where you will get to know the story of Twanguero and many more artists. Check it out!
Latin GRAMMY winner and songwriter/guitar bender Diego Garcia, aka TWANGUERO, is one of the most active artists in the Hispanic scene. He is internationally renowned for his unique Latino-Twang sound, which goes from Spanish guitar to American folk, flamenco, and tango, in addition to his impeccable fingerpicking style.
Check out this Live Outside, and go back in time to the PFC Classic performances!
Follow him on X: https://twitter.com/eltwanguero/
Location: Dakar, Senegal
Baaba Maal is one of the main ambassadors of West African music around the world. He studied music in Dakar and then went to live in Paris for ten years. After his return to Senegal, he formed his band Daande Lenol (which means “the people’s voice") with blind guitarist Mansour Seck.
Mumford & Sons, Baaba Maal - There Will Be Time
How did we meet?
We first met Baaba during the Glastonbury Festival (UK) in 2009, when he joined the PFC Band on stage to perform his song “Koni.” Since then, he has shared the stage with the PFC Band on different occasions and has also introduced us to many amazing musicians in Senegal and Mali. He has also participated in numerous Songs Around The World!
Follow him on X: https://twitter.com/baabamaal
Location: Veracruz, México
Kátsica Betsabé Mayoral Landa was born in La Paz, Baja California Sur, México on July 11, 1980. She studied political science and while she was studying her career, she started learning music in the university workshops and also in personal classes. She learned traditional Latin American music, flamenco, Caribbean rhythms, drums, guitar and jarana.
For 20 years she has played on many different stages with musicians of a variety of genres, composers and actors all along her country, mostly in Baja California Sur, Veracruz, Mexico City, Oaxaca and Morelos.
In 2020, she was the main organizer of the first women’s music festival: "Festival Fem Fest -Mujeres en la música," in which 10 music groups integrated by women from six to 70 years old, united to reduce the gender gap on music stages.
In the last three years, Kátsica has been working with musical projects in Mexico and was invited to collaborate in two Song Around The World musical videos by Playing For Change and in two Playing For Change Band live performances in La Paz, Mexico.
Location: Cartagena, Colombia
Julián Mojica was born on May 4, 1984, in Colombia, and started playing the accordion at the age of seven with the support of his father.
His effort and natural talent led him to participate in the Festival Vallenato, an event that takes place every year in Colombia to preserve the genre and its subgenres, as well as numerous cultural events. After participating for eight uninterrupted years, Julián won the "Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata," in the professional category in 2018, becoming the "Rey Vallenato" of 2018.
Cuando Tú Me Quieras - Julián Mojica & Poncho Quevedo
Julián stands out in the music scene for his virtuosity in playing Vallenato rhythms, traditional repertoire, and for his distinguished contributions to this instrument. He is recognized for accompanying and being called upon by renowned troubadours, masters, and contemporary exponents of the Vallenato culture to participate in various record productions and major concerts.
Tula Ben Ari and Titi Tsira
Location: La Paz, México
Members of the PFC Band, Tula Ben Ari and Titi Tsira, get together in this Song Around The World, as they call for peace.
Tula was born in Tel Aviv; the influence of the genres in the Middle East, which she grew up with, would later deeply influence her music in the years to come.
After developing her reputation by herself and with the Cuban a cappella quartet Gema 4 (watch Gema 4 videos), Tula was approached with the famous international project, Playing For Change. With PFC, she collaborated on numerous albums and became a member of the Playing For Change Band!
On the other side of the world, Titi began singing and developing her powerful voice at a very early age.
We first met Titi upon arriving in Gugulethu, South Africa, at a concert held to celebrate the opening of the Playing For Change Foundation's Ntonga Music School. Since then, she has enjoyed a successful career both as a solo musician and as a member of various bands.
Titi officially joined the PFC Band in 2009!
Location: Lukala, Congo
A member of the PFC Band, guitarist, and longtime friend, Jason, was born in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Showing his talent for the guitar at the young age of seven, he made his own instrument out of wood and four strings.
Did you know that you can stream Jason's latest album for free? In case you haven’t heard of it, click here! If you are a member, download it for free!
At the age of 20, after earning a degree in classical guitar, he started playing at churches, local venues, and in Papa Wemba's traditional group, Percussion Molokai.
Jason decided one day to travel to South Africa and expose himself to more opportunities; that’s when he joined Afro Fiesta. If you’d like to know more about the story of Jason through the Congo, check out this member-exclusive mini-documentary “Storyland,” where Jason tells his story about growing up in the DRC and how music led him to South Africa and eventually to the great stages of the world.
Yamane El Hage
Location: Dubai, UAE
Yamane El-Hage is a Lebanese songwriter, musician, and singer. Born in 1996 in Beirut, she was raised into a family of artists: her mother and aunts are all reputable singers in Lebanon (the Tomb sisters), her paternal grandparents were both musicians, and her maternal grandparents were singers and painters.
She started a musical career at the early age of five when she entered the Conservatory of Music to learn the violin and joined a children’s choir at the same time. She studied violin for several years before learning the piano and the guitar at the respective ages of 12 and 15.
In 2019, while she was double-majoring, she participated in the international reality contest "The Voice” in which she reached the semi-finals, standing out as the first English-singing contestant to reach this stage in an Arab-singing competition.
90's Kid - Yamane
In 2023, she finally stepped into the original music world, with the release of her first single “90’s Kid,” which has gathered more than one million views on Youtube and over 80k streams on Anghami.
Location: Havana, Cuba
The four band members, Clara Luna, Odette Tellería, Michèle Alderete, and Laura Flores, now known as Gema 4, mastered their music skills throughout their extensive training in singing, choir directing, and musicology. The idea of the group was to bring back old songs along with a few forgotten genres that the youth of the time either no longer listened to or had little knowledge of, and then perform them all a cappella.
Gema 4 “Sabor a mí” / TIEMPO A TEMPO
They first released Te Voy a Dar, their first album, in 1996. Te Voy a Dar received the prestigious EGREM music award, along with another Cuban album titled Una Forma Mas, by the Cuban sextet Vocal Sampling.
Gemas (2000) includes some songs with instrumental accompaniment. The album follows a line of versions of Cuban composers, albeit closer in time, such as Silvio Rodriguez.
Throughout their artistic career, the quartet has shared the stage on an international level with important artists such as Eddie Palmieri, Irakere, Hernan Lopez-Nussa, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Vocal Sampling, Ramon Valle, Ibrahim Ferrer, and Omara Portuondo.
Gema 4 - "Se te olvida" (Álvaro Carrillo)
Did you know? In 2006, the Israeli singer Tal (Tula) Ben-Ari was invited to join Gema 4 as their new lead vocalist.
Follow them on X: https://twitter.com/gema_cuatro
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Born in Portugal in 1990, Barbosa has been dedicating his work and life to the Portuguese guitar. He is an apprentice in the arts of making music and living music; playing, learning, and telling stories are his motivations.
A Batalha dos Jurados - Final - Port do Soul
As part of his career, he was also part of the folk duo Port do Soul along with Warren Cahill. The idea of combining fado and folk guitar came when the duo started performing in the streets of Lisbon, where they played their instruments in an experimental and unconventional way, creating a unique show.
Isaan Dance Group
Location: Ban Kung, Thailand
The Isaan Dance Group is a vibrant assembly of dance students hailing from Ban Kung Learning Center, nestled in the serene rice fields of northeastern Thailand. Led by BKLC director and instructor Mai Wilachai, her group goes beyond traditional Isaan dance, offering free introductory English classes, artistic expression, and Muay Thai for self-defense to disadvantaged youth in Ban Kung village.
For too many, growing up Isaan means facing the harsh realities of poverty and a scarcity of opportunities. Mai’s learning center offers a safe and nurturing environment every weekend. It's a space where these children can express themselves and enrich their lives. The popular program is truly an inspiring example of how passing on cultural tradition can be a force for positive change in our world.
“Mark Johnson, the visionary producer, generously provided us with a basic audio track of this Song Around The World. We quickly discovered this western melody was foreign to the children here in Isaan, yet they embraced the challenge with open hearts, doing their best to blend traditional dance moves with a melody they had never heard before.
The result? A breathtaking display of the power of music to transcend borders and unite hearts. We couldn't be more proud of the spirit and enthusiasm.” - William Aura
Support the Playing For Change Foundation students here, and learn more about the Ban Kung Learning Center and the Asha Foundation For Humanity.
Location: Dortmund, Germany
The Ensemble (Orpheus NRW) was established in 2018, which started with the support of international musician and Catalan Grammy Award winner Jordi Savall. Since then, the ensemble has received the support of the city of Dortmund and is now practicing for the Vokalmusikzentrum concert on December 17th, 2023 – NRW.
By mid-2021, Orpheus group decided to establish SATB Choir which sings oriental repertoire, focusing on the utmost quality. The choir includes 24 male and female singers from Germany, Syria, Kurdistan, Iran and Palestine.
Location: Wadi Rum Village, Jordan
Amaan Choir is a Jordan-based choir that was initially founded in 2012 at the National Music Conservatory in Amman. It started with 16 singers, but shortly after, it became independent, started excelling, and grew to over a hundred singers, performing more than 60 multinational musical pieces from all around the world!
The choir focuses on Arabic music and culture, specifically. The exchange of culture and knowledge has always been at the top of the choir’s priorities.
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Paulo Heman was born in Bahia, Brazil, and has been a musician since the age of 14. He plays afoxé and pandeiro and has played and recorded with some of the greatest artists in Brazil, including Elba Ramalho, Pepeu Gomes, Chico Buarque, Djavan, and others.
We first met Paulo Heman when the PFC Band performed at the Rio + 20 Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. We incorporated Brazilian musicians into the PFC performance, and Paulo played percussion and has been our friend and soul brother ever since.
Pemba Laka - Song Around The World
Location: Balneário Camboriú, Brazil
Phill Bitencourt was born in Florianópolis, SC, Brazil. He is a music producer, guitarist, and filmmaker. He has a degree in music from Univali, Berklee College of Music, and also from the Popular Music Conservatory of Itajaí, with over 30 music courses taken with musicians and masters such as Gary Burton, Ian Guest, Pat Pattinson, Nelson Faria, João Castilho, Sueli Mesquita, Mozart Mello, Lupa Santiago, Fabio Adour, and Sandro Albert, among others.
He was a finalist at the FEMIC music festival and the winner of the 2012 Festival da Canção. He has already produced and composed with giant names in Brazilian music, such as Gabriel o Pensador. Since March 2021, Phill has worked as the producer of Playing For Change and has recorded great artists such as Renato Borghetti, Liniker, Gilberto Gil, and Sivuca, among others, through the project.
Absolute Focus - Kamaljeet & Jas Ahluwalia
Location: Punjab, India
Kamaljeet Ahluwalia is part of the new wave of Asian musicians emerging from the UK. She began her training at the age of seven under Sitar Maestro Dharambir Singh (MBE). She continued her studies with Santoor Maestro Harjinderpal Singh and is currently under the tutelage of the legendary Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma. She uses her Indian classical roots to walk an innovative path on the santoor, a rare and exquisite hammered dulcimer or zither that can simultaneously explore vast, sublime melodies and intricate, detailed rhythmic patterns.
Kamaljeet Ahluwalia playing the Santoor
American-born Jas Ahluwalia studied the illustrious tabla under the world-renowned Ustad Tari Khan. Jas has learned the tabla in the traditional Ustad-Shagird relationship, which entails a deep bond between master and disciple. Entrenched in the classical mode of training, he is utterly conversant in a variety of genres and is a favorite accompanist among touring musicians and an accomplished solo tabla artist.
Jas at Festival of Tabla 2018
Two musical paths merged into one when Kamaljeet and Jas were married in late 2011. Together, Kamaljeet and Jas founded the art and music production company Absolute Focus. Through Absolute Focus, they have developed an international clientele and have written and produced music for live concerts, commercial advertising, album production, video games, theatrical trailers, and film and television scores.
Follow them on X: https://twitter.com/absfocus
Location: Dubai, UAE
“Honesty, courage, perseverance—those are the kinds of things I try to amplify through my music.” - Arquam via Google Arts and Culture
Born and raised in the UAE, with roots in Oman and Zanzibar, Arqam Al Abri is a young Emirati soul singer. Born into a family of musicians surrounded by records, tapes, and live music, his motivations are the pioneers of rock music, Elvis Presley and Little Richie.
Sounds of the City (with Abri)
His music reflects the embodiment of his homeplace, where the old values meet the new and progressive. It is a mix of old-school soul with neo-soul beats, with lyrics rooted in positivity, introspection, love, and the search for purpose.
His latest single, “Latest Confessions,” is now available on Spotify; check it out!
Arqam currently has five singles out, available on Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, and all other major streaming platforms. His objective with music is to reach people, share his values and the UAE's values, and bring about a positive change. The values of tolerance, love, understanding, peace, and caring for our environment.
Soul de Brasileiro
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The brief story of Soul de Brasileiro is also one of friendship, motivation, and struggle.
Ge Vieira, José Junior, and Negra Silva have studied lyrical singing and produced a rich and diverse original work. They know exactly where they came from, what they want to say, and where they want to go. They make their dreams come true, celebrate great artists, and truly express their awareness of being Black Brazilian singers inserted in the national music market.
In 2005, the tenors and mezzo-soprano began singing together in a Catholic church in Vila Kennedy, on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. They were finalists in the Favela Festival, a partnership between Rede Globo and Cufa Rio; in 2011, they formed Soul de Brasileiro. They began winning awards in theater and cinema.
“As our audience affectionately calls us, this is a band that believes in music as a window to transform realities, and singing is a direct medium to communicate the message of love. We have spread ourselves across as many diverse stages as possible, aiming to ensure that our art, just as many others did for us, leaves a mark on people's stories and moments.”
- Soul de Brasileiro via Youtube Channel
Simples Desejo - Soul de Brasileiro
So far, their original song “Homens Guine” is featured on the global music platform Sofar Sounds. As actors, they have received awards at the Rio Film Festival for the short film “Rua da Mentira" and collaborated on the song “Diamante” with text by the writer and poet Elisa Lucinda, in addition to numerous releases on digital platforms.
Soul de Brasileiro - #JardinsdeAruanda
In the first half of 2023, they released a total of four singles, and they were included in the FUNARJ Live Music Notice from the Secretariat of Culture and Creative Economy of the State of Rio de Janeiro with the Show Metaverso, held at the renowned Rio de Janeiro theater Laura Alvim.
Follow them on X: https://twitter.com/souldbr
Location: Galicia, Spain
Cellist, improviser, performer, visual artist, and researcher. Macarena Montesinos graduated in Fine Arts and is currently a teaching researcher at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Vigo, where she studies the relationship and correspondences that exist between graphic scores and sound improvisation.
She worked on performances by choreographers, dancers, and artists such as Mercé de Rande, Mónica García, Ánxela Blanco, or Nuria Sotelo. She also collaborated in the field of performance art with María Roja and Alba Blanco and presented her own solo projects. Additionally, she contributed to the soundtracks of Galician films like "9 Fugas," directed by Fon Cortizo, and "Seabeasts," directed by Felipe González.
Gwendolyne Gudiño Mendoza
Born in Santiago, Tuxtla, Veracruz, where she was surrounded by the popular music of her hometown, Gwendolyne Gudiño Mendoza acquired the poetry and sounds that this music has kept for hundreds of years.
At the age of 18, she migrated to Baja California Sur, and in a need to express herself, she returned to her traditional music. Since then, her son Jarocho has accompanied her in her daily life.
She traveled all the way from Veracruz to La Paz, Baja California, in Mexico. She has been playing the Jarana Yucateca (a traditional instrument from Veracruz) for eight years now. Kátsica was the first musician to introduce Gwendolyne to us! And after Mark heard her play this traditional instrument, he immediately envisioned her for this SATW.
Her belief is: "Take care of music and music will take care of you."
We invite you to join us in spreading the message. Share this song far and wide. Let its melodies resonate in your heart, and together, let's amplify the call for a sustainable future. The change we seek begins with us, and every note, every voice, and every action matters!
What were your thoughts on this SATW? Do you have a song that you’d like us to cover next?
Comment down below! ⬇️ Don’t forget to follow us on social media and support our music!
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