‘That universal heartbeat’

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Playing for Change Day looks to bring us together through music

Paul Bogdan
A&C Editor

The Playing for Change Foundation is a nonprofit organization that seeks to bring social change through music and arts education, and every year they put on Playing for Change Day to raise money. So far, the organization has built eight music schools and programs in Africa and continental Asia.

Carol Cairns, owner and executive director of Windhover Artists and Events, which runs the Artful Dodger, has teamed up with Blue Sky Cultural Connection to host Playing for Change Day Saskatchewan on Saturday, September 22, in conjunction with the global Playing for Change Day.

“It became a global event celebrating music and became a fundraiser to help put music in schools. So, there’s eight schools now in Africa started through it,” said Cairns.

Cairns wasn’t shy in expressing her enthusiasm not only towards the event, but toward music generally — and the subsequent, connecting power that music has.

“It’s extremely exciting for me because for one, I love the fact that it’s connecting people globally through music, because music and drumming is like that universal heartbeat. We all get it. There’s no language barriers or anything, no social confines. It’s for everyone; music is something that everyone can celebrate together in,” said Cairns.

“My favourite thing is when artists get together, and they sing the same song in their own style. That’s one of the greatest things about Playing for Change; when you watch the videos, and you see how people around the world are playing that same song with their own flavour … they’re not in the same room, but when the editing is all done, it’s one unified piece of music that is pretty powerful.”

The afternoon of September 22 will flip back and forth between performances and interactive workshops, and the evening will feature back-to-back performances from a number of different artists, silent auctions, and raffle draws.

“The afternoon will be very much workshop and interactive. So, there’ll be some drumming, Ranch Ehrlo’s drumming group combined with a couple of other groups in the city; and then there’ll be singer-songwriters to a variety of musicians, and there’ll be information about getting music education here,” said Cairns.


 "I love the fact that it’s connecting people globally through music, because music and drumming is like that universal heartbeat. We all get it. There’s no language barriers or anything, no social confines. It’s for everyone; music is something that everyone can celebrate together in." – Carol Cairns


Tying into musical education is what Cairns described as a musical “petting zoo” wherein anyone can come and try out an array of different musical instruments.

“We’re going to have a ‘petting zoo’ of instruments … We really want people to feel connected to music,” said Cairns.

While recognizing and addressing global problems, a portion of the proceeds raised from Playing for Change Day will also go back to communities here in Regina.

“When we raise this money for Playing for Change, a large portion of it goes to the global organization to help put schools in third world countries and situations like that, but we also give a portion back that stays in our community. So then, we’ll take the funds that are raised from this and put it towards helping people get music in schools locally,” said Cairns.

Getting involved with Playing for Change Day is something that has been on Cairns mind for some time now, but as one can expect, the bulk of her hitherto efforts have been focused on the Artful Dodger. However, with the Artful Dodger’s hope to be fully open by the end of the month, she’s finally found the time to get involved with Playing for Change.

“Every since I first saw the video for Playing for Change, probably a couple years ago, I’ve been thinking, ‘How can I get involved?’. And then, I’ve been so caught up in [the Artful Dodger],” said Cairns.

Moreover, Cairns also said being passionate and open to different opportunities seems to draw together other passionate individuals.

“I’ve been listening to their videos for a few years, and then when Gary Robins from Blue Sky Cultural Connection approached me and asked me if I’d be interested in being a part of it, I was just like, ‘Yes!’ Cairns said. “Sometimes when you’re just open to opportunities, and you’re passionate about different things, people are drawn that are like-minded, and that’s what happened with Gary [Robins]. I was totally over-the-top excited.”

The events on September 22 are free to attend, but donations are encouraged. For a full list of performers and events, go to artfuldodgerarts.com

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