Very Soothing

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Riding the subway train to my Music Under New York busking spot at Union Square, I realized that my watch’s battery was dead, so I looked up at the time announcement strip in the train. It said: 11:51. A few minutes later, as I was setting up to play, the time announcement on the station’s strip was 11:50… Apparently the subway’s announcement strips are not synchronized…

A lady bought my CD. She said she has a kindergarten class and she is bringing the CD for the children to hear. “It’s very soothing music”, she said.
“Where is your kindergarten class?”, I asked.
“In the Bronx – not very soothing”, she said.

Playing musical saw
Photographer: Arpit Hathie

A little kid with his mother and two siblings stood to listen to my music. The kid bent over and grabbed a dollar from my donations box. “That’s not allowed”, I said to him. He dropped it back in and he and his family walked away. The mother didn’t say a thing…

A homeless looking guy who looked pretty out of it, and whom I’ve seen passing by before, stood in front of me and said: “Play the saw, play the saw”. When I played he stood there for a full song, listening, looking like he was in another world.

Drummer Mike Alaska walked by, waving to me.

Please turn off the player on the right hand column before playing this video:

video by Michael Tapp

At 3pm Nicola (singer/songwriter) came for her permitted busking spot. Mike Alaska, the drummer, walked by again and we all talked about how ‘Red Bull’ is trying to scheme and exploit subway musicians by offering them a demeaning contract for performing in their promotional festival in Brazil.


On the train back home the lady who was eating lunch on the bench by the busking spot where I played was walking the trains asking for donations to help her get something to eat.

The three Nortenos who were making the rounds, changing from the up to the down town train at 14th street and passing by me every time they did this, waving to me, were on the train, playing one song on each subway car.


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3 Responses to Very Soothing

  1. Kathleen on June 6, 2011 at 1:44 am

    Beautiful music. I have not seen/heard you on the subway, yet. Look forward to your hearing you soon.

    • The Saw Lady on June 6, 2011 at 1:53 am

      Thank you for your kind words, Kathleen. If you happen to run into me in the subway, come and say ‘hi’.

  2. andrew on June 12, 2011 at 6:40 am

    i had no idea what to expect, but it brought tears to my eyes.. beautiful

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by Scott R Munson