East Side Buskers


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When I arrived at the Music Under New York spot at the 59th street subway station at 11:40am I found Tai Qi singing ‘Ave Maria’ there. He is an opera singer from China – really nice guy, tall with a bass voice. He had only been playing for 40 minutes when I arrived, but he didn’t mind at all seceding the spot to me – he much prefers performing at 77th street. He was just whiling away the time until the musicians there (three guys singing along with a keyboard) are done with their set, at 1pm.
Tai Qi told me he also likes to perform at 68th street, but there is a Polish accordion player who hogs the spot there – he shows up at 8am and stays until 8pm, thus not giving anybody else a chance to perform there. He is there every day, too! Tai Qi and I both said we wish we could perform this long, but he can only sing for 3 hours before his throat feels like it needs a rest, and my left hand usually starts to hurt after 4 hours of non-stop playing :(

Tao Qi

The homeless guy who walks tilted and frequents this subway station walked by, and as is his custom – looked into my donations box. He doesn’t mean to steal – he is just curious, I think.

59th street subway station

Still no sign of Jefferson, the nice sanitation guy in charge of the station. It’s been a very long time now, at least a month, in which he hasn’t been there, with a rumor that he is ill. I hope he is OK. May be he just took some time off his MTA job to pursue his passion, which is music. He promotes a band in his spare time and sometimes he takes them overseas.

59th street subway platform

By the way – I’ve recorded a soundtrack for a TV commercial for LG Electronics. If you see a commercial where refrigerators are being destroyed (a lady with a large drill wracks one, a train hits one, a magician makes one disappear, etc.) – listen to the soundtrack. The dreamy music features my musical saw. I was told this commercial will be aired internationally.

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3 Responses to East Side Buskers

  1. jmb on October 20, 2007 at 1:22 am

    Good post as usual. Let’s hope the commercial will make you rich. I’ll watch for it although I usually mute the commercials. Sorry!

  2. Chinnie on January 31, 2009 at 8:21 am

    Hello- At the 77th St. 6-train station on a Saturday in December, I saw a tall Asian man singing ‘Ave Maria’ and selections from ‘Don Giovanni.’ I meant to ask him where else and how often he performs, as his voice was really quite grand, but never got the chance. So I decided to google around for more information about him instead — which is how I found your blog. I believe the person you’ve blogged about here and referred to as ‘Tai Qi’ is this singer. Would you happen to have seen him lately, and if so would you kindly let me know where? Thank you so much in advance.

  3. Chinnie on February 4, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Hi Natalia,

    Thanks so much for your swift reply! This does help. I’ll keep an eye out in particular along the 6-train route.

    Your blog was a great discovery, by the way, as I’ve often wondered about the lives and insights of musicians who regularly perform at MTA stations. I’ll look forward to catching your performance at Union Sq. sometime soon.

    Saw on & all best,

    Chinnie

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