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How a little jam went global

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Johnson visited South Africa, Ghana, India, Nepal, the Middle East, Russia, Brazil, and Ireland, among many other regions, with mobile recording equipment to capture instrumentalists, vocalists, choral groups, youth choirs, and subway performers, each contributing individual parts to familiar songs by Bob Marley, Sam Cooke, Peter Gabriel, and others.

Supported by private investors, the project was meant for eyes, as well as ears. An accompanying DVD to the album, "Songs Around the World" (Playing For Change Records/Concord Music Group), features videos that deliver Johnson's vision with striking clarity: a cellist in Moscow accompanied by native American drummers in New Mexico; a steel guitarist in New Orleans backed by a South African choir; the rock star Bono of U2 trading vocals with the Ghana reggae star Rocky Dawuni.

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