The Band’s iconic song performed by Robbie Robertson, Ringo Starr and a host of others around the world.
“What key is it in, Robbie?” Ringo Starr, sitting behind a drum set, asks Robbie Robertson over the phone. Ringo nods. “F-demented!” What happens next is a joyous cover of “The Weight,” with Robertson reprising the recording’s soulful intro lick. A series of musicians from all over the world – Marcus King, Lukas Nelson, the Japanese guitar virtuoso Char, Congo soul singer Mermens Mosengo and more – all add their own flavor to the classic from different locations.
The project comes from Playing For Change, a group dedicated to “breaking down the boundaries and overcome distances between people.” That includes schools 15 music schools across 11 countries, documentaries and viral videos bringing artists from different cultures together; the group has released videos for “Redemption Song,” “What’s Going On” and more. “The Weight” was done on an epic scale, a year and a half of production over five continents. “We made it brick by brick, starting with Robbie,” says co-founder Mark Johnson, a Grammy-winning producer-engineer who’s worked with Paul Simon, Keith Richards and more. “That’s what makes this special. We could never have never assembled this group in the studio. You need to go there, and then when you go there, you’re where they feel comfortable. You hear that in the music.”
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