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YouTube sensation Playing for Change in Columbus

Courtesy of Jeremy Goulder

Thousands of miles spent coursing the globe and countless hours behind a camera have led to a one-night performance in Columbus.

Led by Grammy Award-winning producer Mark Johnson, and Raan Williams, manager and producer of the group and an Ohio State alumnus, Playing for Change is scheduled to perform at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Lincoln Theatre as part of their 2012 traveling showcase.

Playing for Change, which began as a documentary for PBS and became a YouTube sensation, served to show how music can help spread hope and inspiration. It featured video of several musicians and street performers from around the world playing songs that were eventually spliced together to form one collaboration.

Playing for Change first came together in 2009 at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, when several of the musicians featured in the videos performed live.

Williams said Playing for CHange is about much more than just music.

“It’s really turned into sort of a movement of people really feeling this is an important thing for the world to use as a tool to really stop looking at all of our differences and more of our similarities and really focus on something positive for a change,” Williams said. “We tapped into this sort of an energy from the planet really, and not to sound too wishy-washy about it, but it really gives people this feeling of inspiration and connection to other people.”

Nine musicians from countries around the world are traveling across North America to spread their message. Johnson described them as “the global peace band.”

“The idea is to build a global family,” Johnson said. “In a world where so many things divide us, we want to find something that can unite us together — regardless of our differences in race, religion, politics, how much money we have, we can use music to bring us together.”

He said seeing a performance like this will rival many other musical exhibitions in meaning.

“It’s an unbelievable experience to see the world unite together with different styles of music, different sounds and create an atmosphere with the audience that we are going to make it as a human race,” Johnson said. “The musicians and the audience have so much love and power with the music that its like an experience that you’ve never seen before. The world is coming to your town.”

Chris Braun, a third-year in English and journalism, said the show sounds interesting but not necessarily something he would participate in.

“It sounds like a pretty cool and different performance … to bring artists from other countries to get their very different styles together into one performance,” Braun said.

Tickets start at $25 and are available at the Ohio Theatre Ticket Office and through Ticketmaster outlets.

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