Thursday, April 23, 2009

Nothing like an arhythmic version of Danny Boy on the accordian to top off your day...

Zydeco alien Accordian
Originally uploaded by zydecomo
I've written about street musicians quite a bit. They are everywhere in New York and I will miss them terribly when I am gone.

But they are not all good.

Example one: There are two musicians who appear to alternate shifts in one of the tunnels under canal street where we cross to get the uptown trains. One of them is "David's magic percussion hands" (that's what it says on the sign.) I give him a bit of slack because I think that he's developmentally disabled, and good for him for expressing himself. Basically he has a number of things taped to himself which he smacks. I guess if you were to stay long enough you might be able to discern some kind of rhythm or at least a repeating pattern, but it's a short tunnel.

He alternates with Example 2: Bad cellist. Really bad cellist. Cello is one of the most elegant instruments to hear, and those that play them are pretty much rock stars in the world of classical music (the mellow kind of rock star, who is unassuming.) This guy. There is no way to describe it except perhaps that it is the sound that would result from sinewy entrails being dragged through a brillo pad. Can you hear that sound? It's the kind of sound you can feel. Thank God that it's a short tunnel.

Example 3: Pan-flute-driven-questing-music. This is a new one on our Lorimer street stop on the L. It broke my heart when I saw the (wonderful!) spanish guitar player on Monday, and then heard the quiet crescendo of the pan flute as I advanced down the platform. Drake and I share a disdain for pan flute, so we looked at each other in despair. The train wouldn't arrive for 6 minutes-- Then we noticed the supporting track that the pan flutist was using. It was similar to what you hear in Celine Dion's hit "My heart will go on." It was similar to what I remember hearing at a praise music concert I attended in my youth. It was questing music.

Example 4: The arrhythmic folk hero accordian player. He started with "Amazing Grace." A classic, to be sure, but it took a little while for us to positively identify it as such, so disjunct was the rhythm. We looked at each other wide-eyed.... Drake compared him to Ives "only less organized" which is hilarious. So we briefly entertained the possibility that he might be a genius. But in the end, I think he was just drunk.

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