Wednesday, July 8, 2009

'A little prestidigitation...'

The noise of the trains on either side of the platform doesn't seem to bother Thalys Peterson Quaresma. When the guitarist is playing he is engrossed in his technique, as his fingers deftly navigate the fretboard.

Originally from the town of Curitiba in southern Brazil, Thalys came to New York about a year and a half ago and says he has been playing on the Subway for about eight months. He tried out for a MUNY spot this year.

He'd attracted quite a crowd today on the 34th Street platform and says that even though he plays sometimes on the mezzanine at 14th Street, he likes playing here because the "people wait longer". I watched him for a while as he ran through a wide repertoire mixing standards like "Ipanema" and "Autumn Leaves" with what I guess were Brazilian tunes, all of which displayed his skill.

He said he doesn't have any other musical gigs at the moment, but is always on the lookout for opportunities, even though he's enjoying playing on the platforms. He's definitely worth catching if you get a chance.

'O barulho dos trens que circulavam nos dois lados da plataforma parecia não incomodar Thalys Peterson Quaresma. O guitarrista é absorvido em sua técnica, quando, ao tocar, seus dedos habilidosamente deslizam pela cordas.

Nascido em Curitiba, sul do Brasil, Thalys conta que chegou em NY ha cerca de um ano e meio atrás e que está tocando no metrô faz oito meses. Ele tentou uma vaga para a MUNY este ano.

Ele atraiu uma quantidade significante de gente hoje na plataforma da estaçao 34th Street e disse que, embora toque algumas vezes no mezanino da 14th Street, gosta mais de tocar aqui, porque as pessoas ficam por mais tempo. Passei um tempo assistindo Thalys tocar, durante o qual ele apresentou um repertorio diversificado, como "Ipanema" e "Autumn Leaves", o que acho que eram musicas brasileiras, e, em todas elas, ele demonstrou sua habilidade.

Ele disse nao ter nenhum trabalho com musica no momento, mas esta sempre à procura de oportunidades, muito embora esteja gostando de tocar nas plataformas. Vale muito a pena ouví-lo, se você tiver a chance.'

(muito obrigado, Debora x)


Talking with Thalys reminded me that the Mannes Guitar Seminar started yesterday at the Music College of New York's New School. The theme is 'The guitar in the Americas' and some top players are lined up. If you're in the city and get a chance to go, it runs through Sunday.


It was one of those 'lets choose a station at random' days today, so I ended up at 77th Street, the Lenox Hill Hospital stop. Not much going for it, apart from some nice mosaics, but it's certainly not the greatest to play at. The platform's narrow, and because there's only one exit, everyone comes the one way off the leading cars. Even so, there are some quiet moments where you can be heard across on the other platform.

A word of caution though; the station, like others on the 4/5/6 uptown, has no interchange between uptown and downtown platforms, so if you want to cross over, you have to exit to the street and enter the station - and pay - again.

I had one woman notice a sticker on my guitar case and ask if I was Irish. "Yeah, we're everywhere," I just said. She gave me a dollar. Probably for the whole famine thing. Running total $51.89.

Today's songlist:

Knockin' On Heaven's Door - Bob Dylan
Secret Garden - Bruce Springsteen
I Want You Back - Jackson Five
People Get Ready - Curtis Mayfield
Here Comes The Sun - Beatles
Lawyers Guns And Money - Warren Zevon
Tracks Of My Tears - Smokey Robinson
Drift Away - Dobie Gray
Rosalita - Bruce Springsteen
Peace Love And Understanding - Elvis Costello


  1. With help from Google and, the title of this post expanded my vocabulary, as well as my knowledge of Bruce Hornsby lyrics.

  2. Thanks, ALG.
    It's a great song, and I'm a huge Bruce Hornsby fan.
    The rest of that lyric:

    "How long will we be here
    Well babe I just don't know
    Depends on fate, the luck of the draw
    Or maybe a little flashy show"

    Always struck me as kind of sad - that there's so much pressure on artists to always have to do something to stay 'relevant' when at the heart of everything, talent should be the constant.

    And I have a lot of respect for how Hornsby has been able to evolve throughout his career, based largely on his incredible technical ability as a player.

  3. I always transfer for the D Train on 34th. It is quite a long wait, but his playing eases my stress and makes the wait somewhat pleasant. His music is enchanting in the middle of the stressful noise and busyness found in the subway.

  4. Thalys Peterson Quaresma é o cara!!!!!!!!!!!
    Um abraço do Jones - Curitiba/PR!