Recently, Robbie Robertson and other notable musicians including Ringo Starr, Marcus King, and more all celebrated 50 years of The Band‘s beloved folk-rock hit, “The Weight”, by performing the tune in unison from various locations around the world–five different continents to be exact.
The individually-recorded performances were pieced together for a wonderfully-edited rendition of “The Weight”, which also features Lucas Nelson, Larkin Poe, Japanese guitarist Char, Congo soul singer Mermens Mosengo, and more sharing screen time as part of Playing For Change‘s latest initiative to bring people from around the world together through music.
Related: ‘The Last Waltz Tour 2019’ To Feature Warren Haynes, Don Was, Lukas Nelson, More
The overall filming and recording process took Playing For Change co-founder Mark Johnson more than a year to complete, with filming taking place on six different continents. Robertson recorded in Los Angeles, CA; King in Greenville, SC; guitarist Roberto Luti in Livorno, Italy; Larkin Poe in Venica, CA; Char in Tokyo, Japan; Mosengo in Kinshasa, DR Congo; guitarist Ali Boulala in the Kingdom of Bahrain; percussionist Sol Homar in Barcelona, Spain; pianist Keiko Komaki in Kagoshima, Japan; ukulelist Taimane in Ka’a’awa Valley, HI; and accordionist Chango Spasiuk in Buenos Aires, Argentina; just to name a few.
“We traveled the world with a mobile studio, great equipment, and some cameras and this one we started off with Robbie Robertson playing guitar,” Johnson said of the painstaking recording process. “We went into the studio and made a demo in the right key, the right tempo, so he could put on headphones and play along … As we traveled the world, we would deconstruct [the track.] So Ringo would replace the drums. Hutch [James “Hutch” Hutchinson”] would replace the bass. Everywhere I go, I’m putting headphones on musicians, and they’re listening to whatever preceded them and playing along. And that’s how we built it as we went from country to country. I think in this video, we went to about ten different countries.”
Watch the end result of all the musicians from around the world performing “The Weight” in unison below.
“The Weight” Featuring Robbie Robertson – Playing For Change
[Video: Playing For Change]
“In a world where so many things are dividing us, it’s important to show people the connections and how easy the world gets along when the music plays,” Johnson continued regarding Playing For Change’s ultimate goal of bringing cultures closer. “To show people first the music is timeless, but it’s also universal. Everyone in the world can connect to each other.”
Other ambitious group recordings which Johnson and Playing For Change have constructed include “Stand By Me”, “La Bamba”, “All Along The Watchtower”. Head to the organization’s YouTube page to experience more international group performances.
[H/T Rolling Stone]