A couple of nights ago, I decided to go busking at a couple of NYC subway stations on a Friday evening. Rob had a megaphone that we used as a low-quality amplifier that seem to work perfectly for the occasion. Contrary to the PA systems I use for multimedia shows, the megaphone amplification made the toy piano sound tinnier than usual. We started out at the Grand Central stop and then moved to Union Square. This was my first time taking the NYC subway with the intention of spending time in the station. It is an entirely different experience once you are trying to stay there and listen/observe what other music is going on underground. Some people make eye contact, others seem to just play for themselves. Underground, I shared a “venue” with a jazz fusion guitarist, an African xylophone duo and a classical violinist.
How much are people really listening anyways? Even during concert? We hope that people are coming with open ears but most likely they walk into concerts with their days’ thoughts, worries and varied energy levels. What really makes people stop and listen?
I made my way into the subway system for a video piece that Rob has been making. It’s been really interesting to follow him around with his camera looking for buskers. This piece will be made into a video installation at the Baby Grand opening in mid-April. I will write with more details!