Tin Cup Music – Charlie and Kathy Cole collaborate on an inspirational movement to bring music by street performers to the world

Charlie Cole’s eyes get teary as he shows a visitor the latest video showcasing street musicians from around the globe singing together. Filmed on the streets of cities as close as New Orleans and as far away as Tokyo, the Playing For Change video features artists—each on his own turf—harmonizing on a gospel tune, using headphones and microphones for sychronization. It is moving.

“Do you see why I had to get involved?” asks Charlie, his face solemn. “It’s magical.” What’s more, it’s making a difference.

In 2002, recording engineer and producer Mark Johnson launched Playing For Change, a project dedicated to promoting international unity through music. He began recording street performers on the streets of Brazil and South Africa and Italy, to name a few locales. He decided to sync the performances in 2005. PFC’s first Songs Around the World video, “Stand by Me,” was posted online in 2009 and boasts more than 57 million plays on YouTube to date.

When Charlie first viewed the “Stand by Me” video, he got in touch with Mark Johnson. Then, while touring the globe in 2011, Charlie and Kathy stopped in California and spent five hours with Johnson on Christmas Eve discussing PFC and their desire to be involved. A partnership was formed.

“I just knew that this was too good,” says Charlie. “It was big. And I wanted to be a part of it.”

Charlie and Kathy formed the company Tin Cup Music to collaborate with PFC. That means Charlie will be traveling the globe again, this time to help promote Playing For Change and the Playing For Change band. The third CD will be released in June at Starbucks internationally. Proceeds from the music videos and concerts help build music and art schools for children around the world through the nonprofit Playing For Change Foundation.

“Charlie Cole is a great friend and ambassador for Playing For Change,” says Raan Williams, owner, principal, partner and one of the producers for the company. “He lives his life with principle, compassion and loyalty—all values that Playing For Change cherishes. We are grateful to have him in our lives.”