Philadelphia Phil
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Philadelphia Phil

Indianapolis, Indiana, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010

Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos




“Christopher mentioned while most of this folklore songs are based off of his life, there are some things he said he fabricated, which “the audience had to figure out for themselves.” One of those audience members was Dan O'Donnell, a Class of 1978 alumnus from Pittsburgh, who watched various events at Old Main Lawn throughout the day. “I thought he had a great voice and many interesting stories to tell throughout his songs,” O’Donnell said.” - Penn State University

"Playing for Change Day comes to Mass Ave"

Philadelphia Phil, the Philadelphia-born, now Indy-based multi-instrumentalist who sometimes goes by his government name Philip Henry Christopher, first became aware of the Playing for Change movement when he saw the video that launched it all: a performance of "Stand By Me" by a Santa Monica street performer, Roger Ridley.

He's followed it since then, as it's grown into a world-wide initiative that saw videographer Mark Johnson traveling around the world to tape street musicians singing the same song — and eventually expanded into a foundation devoted bringing "peace to the world through music" by recording and sharing music, organizing tours with those same musicians and putting together benefit shows to raise money for music education.

Saturday's Playing for Change Day might be seen as the culmination of those efforts: A fundraising concert taking place on the streets of cities around the world, it aims to raise funds for music education and, in the process, connect peace-minded musicians from around the planet to mobilize their resources for a common cause.

Indianapolis wasn't on the Playing for Change radar until less than month ago, when Phil fielded an e-mail from the Playing for Change Foundation. Within a day, he and cohorts from the Indianapolis Acoustic Music Meetup contacted the foundation with a plan to stage performers up and down Mass Ave.

"That week we went into overdrive, contacting musicians, artists, designers, business owners: anyone who would listen," Phil says of the planning process. "The response was outstanding, with a broad cross-section of the community stepping up to help out."

Phil will play a couple sets during Playing for Change Day at a tent outside the Art Bank; other performers will play, busker-style, outside Starbucks and Global Gifts on Mass Ave. Phil's band Mumbai Taxi is bringing in a couple very special collaborators: Trinidadian recording artist Sharlene Boodram and reggae toaster Kwanzaa Popps.

"Indianapolis needs music on the streets, needs the human connections to be made innocently, without the trappings of ego, celebrity, or industry," Phil said when asked why he brought Playing for Change to Indy. "Just honest music to lift hearts in that organic way it has since we first walked upright. Hopefully, Playing For Change Day Indianapolis will be the start of our city reconnecting through music this way."

Phil hopes to raise one percent of the total global goal of $250,000, or $2500, during the festival. Individuals can contribute directly at any time via the show's Playing for Change Day donation page.
- Nuvo News

"Chicago Acoustic Underground Podcast"

Philadelphia Phil February 2014 broadcast on Chicago Acoustic Underground. Recorded December 2013. - Michael Teach

"Scenes from Playing for Change Day"

When Indianapolis resident Jade Coley saw the Playing for Change music video several years ago, she knew she was witnessing something special. Coley, 21, an aspiring actress, model and vocalist, has been involved in the Indianapolis arts scene since she was a teenager. Saturday’s Playing for Change Day event was the first major community function that she had helped to organize, but the cause has long been dear to her heart. For Coley, the struggle of the people of West Africa is especially moving.

“Their music is thousands of years old and it’s disappearing because of politics and poverty, “ she said. “It's really heartbreaking to think of how rooted their traditions are and how its just being stripped from them.”

Coley's efforts led to Saturday's local edition of Playing for Change Day, which saw the sidewalks of Mass Ave come alive with street musicians as part of a worldwide fundraiser for music education. The day’s events — coordinated on a global level by the Playing for Change Foundation — aimed to inspire and connect people worldwide through the common language of music, while at the same time raising funds to establish music and art schools in low-income communities.

Coley had recently become an active member of Indy’s Acoustic Music Meetup, a project and web portal that provides a place where local artists can connect with other musicians to plan jam sessions and concerts. After she and fellow Meetup member “Philadelphia Phil” Christopher got the info on Playing for Change Day, Coley and Phil began a month-long whirlwind planning effort to bring the event to Indianapolis. Drawing support from local businesses like Starbucks, Global Gifts, the Art Bank and Old Point Tavern, the event soon became a community effort. For Phil, it was a welcome chance to invigorate the Indianapolis street scene.

“Its just the idea, the whole playing for change philosophy is that music brings people together, it unites people,” said Phil on Saturday. “We don’t have that energy on the street in Indianapolis. It’s in places like Earth House where you have to go find it, but we don’t have it out here.”

To stir up the vibe, Phil called upon Indiana reggae-funk artist Kwanzaa Popps and his IRB Sound band to headline the event. The day also included performances by new-grass ensemble the Millbranch String Theory and bluegrass tunesters The Punkin’ Holler Boys. The lineup’s variety of genres was consistent with the global flavor of the day, with acts ranging from folk to funky reggae, classic rock and everything in between. Several artists crossed the state to come play, but many came from just around the block.

The day’s events were centered around several points on the Avenue, mainly on the sidewalks outside of Starbucks, Global Gifts, and the Art Bank. At each station, volunteers were on hand and eager to speak about the cause, passing out info on the Foundation and collecting donations. Coley and her fellow volunteers noticed that the Art Bank wasn’t drawing the crowd they wanted, so they moved it to a small park at Mass Ave and Park.

“[The Art Bank] was sort of our main focal point as far as the bands that were coming together for it, so we moved it down here,” said Coley. “I think it turned out really good because this is a beautiful spot and it’s been the heart of it all really.”

Experienced professional musicians collaborated with local music dabblers that turned up to try their hand. One such local, ukelele player and volunteer Jim “Blacktop” Kelly, strummed some classic tunes outside Starbucks, with volunteer Barry Banks joining in to sing from time to time. The welcoming atmosphere encouraged some passers-by to chime in and sing.

Back at the park, local musician Chris McShay organized a two-hour set of musicians he has met while running Wednesday's open stage at Red Lion Grog House. McShay, who also played with his own band at the park stage, has long been an advocate for revealing hidden talents.

“That’s - Nuvo News

"Philadelphia Phil And Indy Acoustic Meetup Perform And Raise Funds On PFC Day"

On Playing For Change Day 2011, Phillip Henry "Philadelphia Phil" Christopher gathered friends and musicians together for the Indy Acoustic Meetup in Indianapolis, Indiana. "The musicians have been so giving," says Phil. "In thirty years of making music this has been one of the most inspiring experiences I've had."

This music video features world music artist Sharlene Boodram (Trinidad-Tobago), along with Philadelphia Phil, members of Mumbai Taxi, and reggae singer, Kwanzaa Popps. The entire production was donated by Garbriel Harley Multimedia.

Check out the Philadelphia Phil & Indy Acoustic event page to see more about the event and how much they've raised. Thanks to Phil and all of the musicians who participated! - Playing For Change Foundation


Bite Marks, the Movie (November 2011) - Cannes Film Festival, 2012
Brewster's Waltz
Brewster's Boogie

Death Do Us Part (May 2012)
Musical score.

New Graveyard Blues (July 2012) CD

Burn You Mama
New Orleans Goin' Down
Goin' Up The Country With The Lonesome Road Blues Again
Get Your Bible Off My Back
Whispering Pines Waltz
New Guv'Mint Blues
Sittin' On Top A The World
Mama Don't Allow
New Graveyard Blues
Passing Through
Broke Down Palace
Catfish John



Singer, songwriter, guitarist and poet, Philadelphia Phil, combines lively ragtime and finger-style blues interpretations of traditional Americana with original poems, songs and stories, for a unique eclectic acoustic performance. 

Philadelphia Phil spent his childhood in Paris, France, Biloxi, Mississippi, Atlanta, Georgia and Swanton, Vermont, before landing in the steel mill town of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, where he grew up in the smokestack shadows of blue collar America. Escaping high school he made Philadelphia his home, alternating between the turf that gave the world John Coltrane, Philly Joe Jones and Stanley Clark, and cities across America, living for a time in Buffalo, New Orleans, Fort Worth, even Iowa, before settling in the Heartland.

He has appeared from Chicago to Memphis, St Louis to Philly, and is available as a soloist, or to appear with the Philadelphia Phil & Friends Band. From house concerts and other intimate stages to festivals and funky bars, the poet and singer from Philly moves any house with his intelligent, fresh take on traditional guitar music. He is available solo, or with any number of the world-class performers in Philadelphia Phil & Friends band.


Most recently Philadelphia Phil has appeared at: 

Ohio State Fair (Columbus, OH)
Central Pennsylvania Festival of Art and Music (State College, PA)
Fiore Winery (Pylesville, MD)
Horses Sing None of It ( New York City/Northern New Jersey television)
Indiana State Fair (Indianapolis, IN)
SummerFair (Cincinnati, OH)
Southgate House Revival (Newport, KY)
Grove City Strawberry Celebration (Grove City, PA)
Piasa Winery (Grafton, IL)
Maifest Music & Art Festival (Covington, KY)
The Saloon at The Seasons Lodge (Nashville, IN)
Chatterbox Jazz Club (Indianapolis, IN)
Potters Bridge Festival (Noblesville, IN)
Getaway Hostel (Chicago, IL)
Gaslight Inn (Indianapolis, IN)
Carmel Porchfest (Carmel, IN)
Silvie's Lounge (Chicago, IL)
The Elbo Room (Chicago, IL)
Pure Eatery (Indianapolis, IN)
Art Squared (Indianapolis, IN)
Playing For Change Day 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 (Indianapolis, IN)
Birdy's (Indianapolis, IN)
Zinc (Cleveland, OH)
Chicago Acoustic Underground (Chicago, IL)
Refuge Coffee Bar (Cincinnati, OH)
Brylan's (Cincinnati, OH)
Metamora Old Time Music Festival (Metamora, IN)
Ediburgh Pixie Theater (Edinburgh, IN)
Common Grounds Coffee House (Lexington, KY)
The Hub Cafe and Tapas Bar (Danville, KY)
Red Lion Grog House (Indianapolis, IN)
Bier Brewery (Indianapolis, IN)
Zazoo's Bar (Louisville, KY)
Beatniks Cafe (Marion, IN)
Doc's Music Hall (Muncie, IN)
All Nations Bed and Breakfast (Indianapolis, IN)
Firefly Cafe (Fort Wayne, IN)
Aroma Cafe (Champaign, IL)
Highlands Taproom (Louisville, KY)
It's All About Wine (Springfield, IL)
Firenczi (Warrensburg, IL)
Creekside Cultural Center (Lenhartsville, PA)
Indy's Jukebox (Indianapolis, IN)
Muddy Boots Cafe (Nashville, IN)
Red Lion Grog House (Indianapolis, IN)
Art Bank (Indianapolis, IN)
Melody Inn (Indianapolis, IN)
City Market (Indianapolis, IN)
Gumbo Aid (Indianapolis, IN)

Band Members