Friday, July 17, 2009

'Lazin' on a sunny afternoon..'

I've taken a quick break out of the city with wife and 3/5ths of our kids, so no busking yesterday, or likely until Sunday evening.

As if to reinforce what I've always believed about exactly how tough a life Subway musicians have, I've only been doing this for a few weeks, and I can feel a different, more congested, quality to my throat and voice.

The dust and grime below ground is something you take for granted as a passenger, because you're only enduring it for a short time as a means to an end. When it becomes your 'working environment' it's a different matter. That goes for MTA employees and cops too, of course, but for the musicians, it's a challenge to perform at your best in such circumstances.

My hat's off to them all, as always.

We've come about two hours out of New York and we're in the Catskills - appropriately enough in Ulster County - at a lovely old resort, but I can happily report that no cats are actively being harmed.

As far as I know.


Until the other day, I thought there was only one musical saw player on the Subway.

Moses Josiah from Guyana has been playing the saw since 1947 and has been playing on the Subway for more than ten years. "I play guitar and piano as well," he said, "but this (the saw) is different - there's no keys or notes to look at. It's just you making the music."

He says he learned by reading about the instrument and then "picked up one of my daddy's saws and banged it with a hammer to see what noise it made."

Of this weekend's Saw Festival in Queens, he says: "it just keeps getting bigger every year." According to the Saw Lady, 56 sawists will now be attending.

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