This guy is performing at the 86th St Subway Station in New York. He’s singing “Someone Like You” by Adele (quite wonderfully, I might add) while playing the djembe.
This guy’s a regular in this subway station. Once I heard him sing Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight“.
There are a lot of strange musical instruments out there. The didjeridu is a giant pipe that plays a barely-audible bass tone. The organ has hundreds of little nobs, keys, pedals, and switches to create several different sounds. The theremin plays eerie music without anyone even touching it.
But I have never seen anyone play a saw:
You heard me right. A saw creates a slight tone when a violin bow is rubbed on the smooth edge. By bending the saw, you create different tones.
If you live in the New York area and have been on the subways, you may have seen this woman perform. Her name is Natalia Paruz, the “Saw Lady”, and she has perpetuated playing the saw as an art form. She has performed with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the Westchester Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Royal Air Moroccan Symphony Orchestra. She has performed all over the world, including in the New York subways.
You can find more information about her on her website: http://www.sawlady.com/.
You can also learn about her busking on her blog: http://www.sawlady.com/.
Here’s a spontaneous subway performance someone sent to me. I love seeing things like this!
EDIT: It turns out this video was taken by a singer in New York named Jessica Latshaw. You can find her blog here!
Anybody see any buskers in the cars of the New York Subway? Well, this past Holiday Season was a big one for them!
Several New York buskers have been raking in the dough this season, with some making as much as $50 an hour. Usually it’s drunks and yuppies that give the most money, and the Holiday Season is the best time to find people like that on the subway!
It is legal to perform music on the train, but if you are impeding passengers and asking for money, the MTA or NYPD can charge you. Still, there is no shortage of brave buskers gracing passengers with their music.
As you may have guessed, I haven’t been able to put up many posts as of late. I was really hoping to keep this going, and perhaps even improve it. What I didn’t count on, however, was the fact that I won’t be in New York after the end of the semester.
As I said in my About Me page, I am a grad student, but I also live in student residence while I’m studying. When there’s a semester break, I live in New Jersey. Now, normally I would jump at more chances to visit the city, but with money being tight and all, I just don’t see that happening.
Therefore, I will be limiting my posts to a few times a week. Obviously, there won’t be much in the way of documenting performances, but I will definitely try my best to give you all the latest busking news, busking facts, and busking events.
Please don’t misunderstand; this project will still be going on. I’m just limiting some of the time I’m putting into it for now. Come late January, I’m definitely gonna be doing more.
To those of you who have been keeping up with this, thank you so much!
Currently, there is a huge debate between buskers and the New York City Parks and Recreation. There have been several new regulations limiting where buskers can perform, specifically in Union Square and Washington Square.
Under the new rules, buskers can’t perform in Union Square’s Southern Plaza, or perform within 50 feet from any monuments or 5 feet from a park bench in Washington Square Park. The reason for these regulations is to prevent congestion and allow unobstructed views of the monuments.
Sound of the City Streets is mainly focused on buskers, but occasionally I like to shift my focus on urban instruments. These are installations that create music through either physical interaction or some other stimuli. One good example of urban instruments is REACH: New York.
REACH is an installation in New York’s 34 St – Herald Square subway station that makes different tones based on who is “playing” it. When you put your hand over one of the open ports, a motion sensor picks up that movement and produces a tone.
This is the brainchild of Christopher Janney, founder of PhenomenArts, Inc.. You can see more of his urban instruments at his website.