Top 7 Epic Street Music Covers From Around The World By “Playing For Change”

Hey good people! My name is Alon, I am 26 and I play mainly the guitar, piano and harmonica. In the last few years, I was lucky enough to travel four different continents with my guitar while teaching music. The GuitarHippies mission: To get you to enjoy your musical journeys to the fullest. Cheers! Learn Harmonica With Me:

“Playing For Change is a movement created to inspire and connect the world through music. Since 2007, The Playing For Change foundation has helped promote peace across borders by bringing music education programs and instruments to children in communities across the globe.”

playing for change2

For those who don’t know them yet or still haven’t ran into a YouTube video by them, Playing For Change is a movement and a non-profit that does all kinds of “peace through music” good stuff all over the world. They build music schools, they hand out instruments to children, they play live concerts in many different places, but above everything else – they create some of the coolest cover videos on YouTube. 

To make a cover, they find street musicians all over the world who play the same song, and mix & mash all those beautiful covers into one video to make it feel, look and sound just like all of those street musicians are playing together in perfect harmony from wherever they are in the world. Sometimes a song can have as many as 15 different nationalities of musicians playing together in 15 different locations on the globe. Sometimes they even have guest stars such as Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones), Jimmy Buffett, Bill Crosby (The Byrds, Crosby Stills & Nash), Manu Chao and many others. Trust me – it’s pretty fuckin’ sweet. Playing For Change songs

So overall, Playing For Change cover videos are about:

  • The best street musicians out there.
  • Beautiful landscapes from all across the globe.
  • Unusual music instruments.
  • Exotic mix of sounds and musicians.
  • Professionally shot and visually appealing videos.
  • Surprising guest apparences.
  • Spreadin’ the love… Peace and love through music. Hell yeah!
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And now that you’re all hyped up….

The Top 7 “Playing For Change” Cover Songs

Here are my absolute 7 favorite cover videos that Playing For Change ever made. You can watch the rest of them on the PFC YouTube channel.

7 – Gimme Shelter (Rolling Stones Cover)

Featuring a great vocalist from Jamaica. I was a bit disappointed that the cover did not pick up more speed and power towards the end, but nonetheless it is still an awesome version. Also – check out this live Rolling Stones + U2 performance of the original song which is my favorite version of it on YouTube.

Gimme Shelter | Playing For Change

6 – One Love (Bob Marley Cover)

One of the very first Playing For Change songs from around the world, posted on February 2009. Beautiful harmonies, true Jamaican vibes.

One Love | Playing For Change | Song Around the World

5 – Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay (Otis Redding cover)

Damn, I just LOVE the solos on this one! There’s a Tokyo guitarist, A harmonica grandpa from New Orleans, and the best is the Cuban brass section playing the famous whistle solo. Soul lovers are in for a treat.

Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay | Playing For Change

4 – Imagine (John Lennon Cover)

I think that the best part about this video is the Indian sitar improvising in the background. Wow! Also, beautiful landscapes from Rio De Janeiro, a great vocalist from Amsterdam, and John Lennon in a “guest appearance”. Crazy good!

Imagine | Playing For Change

3 – What A Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong Cover)

Children’s choirs and great musicians from Europe, Africa, and the USA came together to create this groovy and super positive cover of Louis Armstrong’s everlasting classic. Honestly, watching this really touched me. A wonderful world indeed.

What a Wonderful World | Playing For Change

2 – Ripple (Grateful Dead Cover)

Besides the fact that Ripple is my favorite Grateful Dead song and lyrics, this video is the most recent PFC production (released in July 2015) and it shows a whole different level of photography, sound, more musicians and more countries. Accordion (with so-soulful improvs), oud, banjo, violins, slide guitar and a choir are just some of the cool candies inside. Also, 3 huge guest appearances that I won’t spoil for you. Prepare to have a blast even if you have never heard the original song before. Trust the Dead. It’s epic.

Ripple | Playing For Change | Songs Around The World

1 – Lean On Me (Bill Withers Cover)

A gorgeous cover for one of the biggest anthems of friendship. I used to play this song every Friday for the kids at the summer camp I worked at in Austin, TX and it was a crowd’s favorite, maybe even the biggest one. Something about it just makes people come together and FEEL their friends! I believe it also sums up the idea behind Playing For Change. Among the countries that took place in the video: Nepal, Congo, South Africa, Japan, USA, Ghana, Netherlands, Italy, India, Rwanda, Mali, Australia.

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Here’s for real good and lasting friendships:

Lean On Me | Playing For Change | Song Around The World

Hope y’all enjoyed the productions of this wonderful foundation. You can enter their website and read about what they do, and even opt for a membership – free or through a donation.

Peace, and keep making the world beautiful with your music!

“Let there be songs to fill the air”.

Grateful Dead, “Ripple”

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