Monday, July 06, 2009

Ear on TV: Week of 07.06.09: Playing for Change

Assuming for a moment that you're not one of the more than 10 million that have seen the YouTube video of this collection of street musicians performing "Stand By Me," let me break it down for you (or better yet, scroll down and watch the video).

It begins the way the project itself began, with Santa Monica street performer Roger Ridley (pictured, and since deceased) introducing and performing the song on his acoustic guitar. From there the song builds in layers using live performances from the four corners of the world. By the end, more than 35 diverse musicians from 18 locations are heard riffing on the classic Ben E. King song. It's a fascinating mashup of styles and cultures, and its success has spurred an album (Playing For Change—Songs Around the World), which entered the charts in the top ten, and functions as the thrilling opening to the documentary Playing For Change: Peace Through Music (which is now going to air on PBS sometime next month).

They've since also collected several of the artists from the project and are touring, raising money for music schools for children all over the world. They brought the house down at Glastonbury last week, but on Thursday, the band will somehow squeeze all the performers on to Conan's sound stage, as they perform one of their dynamic covers.

Readers will note that the weekly calendar usually features a rock documentary or two, and while I do like myself a good rocdoc (this week's is the Palestinian rap film, Slingshot Hip Hop, airing on IFC), I love a good rock mock documentary even better, and this week are the two greatest rockmocks of all time. On Monday, BRAVO is airing one of the all time great comedies of any genre, the Rob Reiner-directed This Is Spinal Tap. The Tap are back with a new album, so is it any wonder the film would find its way back on on the tube?

The other favorite airing this week, on IFC, is The Beatles famous foray into film, the Richard Lester-directed A Hard Day's Night, whose influence over film and television is so vast that it would require its own post. Watch for the (blink-and-you'll-miss-it) onscreen debuts of actress Charlotte Rampling and the cheeky Phil Collins.

Playlist: Picks for the week
Monday, July 6
BRAVO: This Is Spinal Tap: Spinal Tap
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band
FUEL: The Daily Habit: Telepathe
IFC: From the Basement: White Stripes (REPEAT)
NBC: The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien: Death Cab for Cutie
NBC: Late Night With Jimmy Fallon: The Lonely Island (REPEAT)
Tuesday, July 7
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Ben Harper (REPEAT)
FUEL: The Daily Habit: Foreign Born
NBC: The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien: Andrew Bird
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: M83 (REPEAT)
Wednesday, July 8
IFC: A Hard Day's Night: The Beatles
IFC: From the Basement: Sonic Youth (REPEAT)
NBC: Late Night With Jimmy Fallon: Amadou & Mariam (REPEAT)
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Delta Spirit (REPEAT)
SUNDANCE: Spectacle: Elvis Costello With...: Elvis Costello, Bill Clinton (REPEAT)
Thursday, July 9
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Levon Helm
FUEL: The Daily Habit: Dinosaur Jr.
IFC: From the Basement: The Kills, The Raconteurs (REPEAT)
NBC: The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien: Playing for Change
Friday, July 10
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Maxwell
NBC: The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien: Ray LaMontagne
NBC: Late Night With Jimmy Fallon: Mos Def (REPEAT)
SUNDANCE: Slingshot Hip Hop: DAM, Palestinian Rapperz, ABEER, Arapeyat, Mahmoud Shalabi
Saturday, July 11

1 comment:

drake lelane said...

Picks for the week of 07.06.09
1. Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight - Spinal Tap
2. Air Mattress - Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band
3. Chrome's On It - Telepathe
4. You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You're Told) - White Stripes
5. No Sunlight - Death Cab For Cutie
6. I'm On A Boat featuring T-Pain - The Lonely Island
7. Shimmer & Shine - Ben Harper
8. Vacationing People - Foreign Born
9. Kim & Jessie - M83
10. A Hard Day's Night - The Beatles
11. Incinerate - Sonic Youth
12. Djuru - Amadou & Mariam
13. Trashcan - Delta Spirit
14. Tennessee Jed - Levon Helm
15. Pieces - Dinosaur Jr.
16. Cheap And Cheerful - The Kills
17. Consoler Of The Lonely - The Raconteurs
18. Stand by Me - Playing For Change
19. Pretty Wings (uncut) - Maxwell
20. Meg White - Ray LaMontagne
21. Casa Bey - Mos Def