This is what happened to the last person who tried to photograph us without giving a donation

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Raices Group was at the spot when I got there. Each time I see them they are wearing different matching ponchos. Edgar, the leader of the group, said it’s because this way he gives the audience respect, giving them something different to look at each time, and it also shows that the group is professional.
Edgar is so nice, and when he has moments when he doesn’t play he dances and looks really cool.
‘Crow’, another member of the group explained to me about shrunken heads. We were talking about how annoying it is when people take our pictures/videos when we play in the subway, and then just walk away, not giving us a donation. Crow said when that happens he takes out this shrunken head and shows it to the photographer, saying ‘this is what happened to the last person who tried to photograph us without giving a donation’.
He explained to me the tradition in Equador of this tribe who even the mighty Inka worrieors were afraid of. This tribe used to decapitate their enemies, shrink their heads and put them on display to worn off the enemies.

A crazy guy walked by, flailing his arms.

The singer with a cane was looking for his buddies. They were supposed to meet at the mezanine.

Two police officers escorted the crazy guy out of the station.
When they returned, one of them asked me how I was doing. We joked about how cold hte weather got today. Some police officers are so nice.

The girl with the doll face who works the trains as a singer (used to be a thief, but now she goes to church) came to say ‘hi’. I was just thinking I hadn’t seen here in a long time. She is working towards taking college entry exams. She told me about a couple she often sees on the train – an anorexic looking woman who doesn’t let her husband tip my friend, and her husband who tips her whenever his wife is not arround, and very generously, too.
‘Doll face’ told me that earlier today she saw a guy at the station, and she recognized him from a ‘Missing PErson’ poster. So, she allerted the police. She discribed the guy to me, and – it was the crazy guy the police escorted out a while before!

The singer with the cane walked by – his friends who were supposed to sing with him today didn’t show up – they went home because it is too cold.

Gray Wolf’s father-in-law (‘Dad’) came to say ‘hi’. He was playing his keyboard in the corridor by Grand Central (it’s warmer there. Times Square is one of the coldest spots in town) but a group of dancers threw him out. They are so mean.
‘Dad’ told me the electricity outlet by our spot doesn’t work any more (since the guy who plays drums+guitar+sings plugged something in there and it blew it out). He told me about a secret electricity outlet on the uptown platform, up on one of the pilars, behind a silver color plaque that swings open to reveal the outlet.

It was much colder today then I expected. I wanted to leave but people were waiting to hear me play. So I stayed for them only, playing through the bitter cold (my feet and hands were numb from the cold). The blade was too cold and it was really difficult to get it to vibrate.

A lady who bought my CD told me she has my cassette! That was so many years ago that I was selling cassettes – maybe 10 years ago! So cool that people care to keep my music. This lady totally made my day. It was worth it dealing with the cold just to get to meet her.


20 Responses to This is what happened to the last person who tried to photograph us without giving a donation

  1. Rockin' Randy on March 6, 2007 at 6:19 am

    Natalia, this is so cool! Thanks for inviting me over. I have some catching up to do on your blogs but I can tell it will be good reading … and listening. Your music is so unique, hauntingly beautiful. I will never tire of it!

    Thanks for thinking of me and have a great week!!! Peace and Love, rr

  2. Carlen on March 6, 2007 at 6:08 pm

    your blog is amazing!!!!!!
    do you want to perform at our show at Cake Shop on March 19th?!
    we would love to have you! and you can sell merchandise at it too!
    let me know!!!!

  3. jim chevalier on March 7, 2007 at 2:16 am

    thanks for the invite to your blog,very interesting,i will definitely be back for more
    thanks again

  4. CJ on March 7, 2007 at 2:19 am

    hey now saw lady,, I just checked out your blog, and I must say that I really really enjoyed it..and thats coming from a true blue New yorker!!!!!

  5. Andy Pratt on March 7, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    Hi Natalia
    I read your blog and it was a very nice read. Your music is good too. I’ve played on the street in Boston quite a lot but it never worked out for me very well. I’m too old and I got spoiled by early success anyway. Right now I’m in beautiful Virginia heading southwest to the South by Southwest festival where I will perform and do a book signing. Maybe I’ll meet you sometime. Say hello to New York for me. bless you

  6. Bruno on March 7, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    Natalia, your blog from your website pages is amazing.
    I’ve read it all in one time. Under your writing your diary lights up imagination and put us besides you on your subway spot. I really truely enjoyed reading it. The two words that came to my mind were simplicity and humanity and they gave birth to poetry. What you let us live by your side is what is in your music.
    Now I am also a fan of your musical diary :o)

  7. Saw Lady on March 7, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Thank you for your very kind words!
    As always, you are the most perseptive person I know. Humanity is exactly what playing in the subway taught and is continuing to teach me. When you play in the subway/street people are not intimidated by you the way they are when you are on a stage. They come right up to you and you get to meet people from all walks of life, rich/poor, all religions and countries, people who look scary, drunks, crazy people – people you would never meet otherwise. And they all turn out to be nice! Even the ones that look scary and you think ‘oh oh – they might give me trouble’. You see how we all have so much in common, how all these groups of people who are supposed to be opposits are actually so much the same. It’s great to see that because it’s the potential for peace in the world.

    Thank you for participating with me in what I do!!!!
    All the best,

  8. OTG on March 7, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    Hi Natalia,

    I’m not a True, Blue New Yorker – or Blue for that matter… or even True, but I’ve been enjoying your subway blog.

    Some of those policemen – “Booo! Hiss!”



  9. Saw Lady on March 7, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    Thank you for your nice comment!
    You’re right about some of those policemen – it makes one wonder – don’t they have REAL crimes to deal with?! Why do they pick on musicians? I have a few friends who despite the fact that they had a permit to play, got arrested! They had to stay overnight in jail, and when they came before a judge the following morning the judge just dismissed them immediately (with no fine or anything). The interesting thing is it is usually rookie policemen who give musicians a hard time, not ones who have been in the job for a while.

    Anyway – thank you so much for participating with me in my blog!!!!
    All the best,

  10. X on March 7, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    Hello from Bristol Uk

    Just read your blogs. They’re wonderful:real slices of life.

    I love the saw sound, it’s one of the most beautiful sounds ive ever heard.

    So thank you so much, you’ve really cheered me up.

    Heres to warm fingers and wonderfully curious people.


  11. Saw Lady on March 7, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    Thank you for your nice words!
    You’ve helped me define what my blog is about:
    real slices of life and wonderfully curious people – this should have been the title of my blog!

    “Heres to warm fingers ” – that’s the best wish – thank you!

    All the best,


  12. Cotton Ginnee on March 8, 2007 at 12:22 am

    hi, you have a very unique talent. your site is very enjoyable,Cotton Ginnee

  13. Malcolm on March 8, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    Natalia; What a fascinating life you lead and what amazing people you meet. Isn’t it odd that if you want to meet a real person, look for those that have little; they are the most generous and genuine people you will ever meet.
    Thank you for sharing your blog and keep safe (and warm!).
    Best Regards

  14. emily on March 8, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    hi natalia!

    i checked out ur new blog and your nyc subway stories are really interesting and some are really strange and funny too! =) i’ll definitely check back often.

    ur spirit has inspired me greatly and i would like to write something for u and ur harp soon. =)

    take care!

    composer from sunny singapore

  15. Saw Lady on March 8, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Hi Emily,

    Thank you for visiting my blog and for your kind words!

    By the way – I have a page for composers who want to write for the saw (it explains the range of the instrument and other stuff):

    Keep making beautiful music,
    have a great day,

  16. Davide on March 8, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    Sometime I & Anita play in Street Festival…
    I’d like to play in New York subway…I love New York!! :-)

  17. Saw Lady on March 8, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    Hi Davide,

    Thank you for visiting my blog!
    I’m sure you guys would do great in the NYC subway.
    Since you are in Italy – you know where it is great to play? In the streets of Rome. I did that a couple of years ago – it was so much fun! I love Rome. Playing in the streets of Florence was also nice, but Rome is my favorite. If you ever try playing there – let me know how it went.
    All the best,

  18. Carol on March 8, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    Hi Natalia! I’ll be in NYC for a few days later this month. I hope to hear you playing in a subway station! Perhaps we could even play a flute and saw duet!! ; )

  19. Saw Lady on March 8, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    Hi Carol,
    Thank you for visiting my blog!
    Let me know when you are in NYC and I’ll let you know when/where I’ll be playing in the subway.
    During the last week of March I won’t be playing in the subway as often as I usually do, because I have rehearsals for the March 30th concert (with a 32 piece orchestra and a 40 singer choir).
    All the best,

  20. rosie on March 19, 2007 at 2:43 am

    Thanks for the visit, Natalia. I hope your concert goes well.

    This post reminded me of the time I was chased by a Rom gypsy outside of Chartres Cathedral. I was taking some photos with a long lens of the details of the west portal and he thought I was photographing him. You don’t dare photograph these guys without giving them a donation.

    I love your life as a busker. Until you find yourself on your own little farm, please feel free to drop by and visit mine.

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