the underground musicians

Sitting at the cafe. Latte in a mug. Glass of water and a record playing. What a wonderful cliche. The sun is shining and the sky is blue, it's one of those days that makes you walk a little taller, happy to be in this city. Possibility. Palpable energy in the air.  

Yesterday, on my way here and there I kept stumbling on the most wonderful musicians. Playing in the subway stations. Just amazing. True musicians, poets, singers and songwriters. 2nd ave, a boy who played the guitar and the harmonica. He sang about moving to New York City to chase a dream and singing to take himself back to the mountains, the ocean that he missed. He sang about wanting to find love. West 4th, a duet. A girl sang and the boy played guitar. He said they were just 'having a rehearsal since space was too expensive in the city'. They were good too. People stopped and listened and some gave money. What surprised me, in each instance, was that no one claps. Even the musicians that pull quite a crowd finish songs to the bustle of trains and the silence of people who immediately retreat back into themselves or their service-less phones. I decided. I'm going to start clapping. 

In other news, I've been going through some vocal trauma. I developed a polyp, due to allergies (or at least that's the best guess), and had to have surgery to remove it. I haven't been able to sing since September 2013. Its mid-January 2014. I hear those people, no expensive training, no cough drops, just some water, a wall for acoustics and being connected to why they are singing and then they go on for hours. Pretty incredible. And neat how they become part of the soundscape of the city. I've gotten used to hearing the guy who plays the wind instrument as I run to an early rehearsal or audition. He hasn't been there for a few days, and I wonder where he is. Add them to the rest of the hustle and bustle of accidental music here. The cab horns and cars screeching, construction on a new high rise, kids laughing, people yelling, dogs barking, trains starting and stopping singing "There's a Place for Us". Have you ever heard that? It's just the first couple notes, something about how the train tracks meet the subway car as it starts to go, creates that minor 7th chord.  "There's a...." 

 

A round of applause to the subway musicians.