Category Archives: NY Street Performers

NY Street Performer…”this dude is nuts?!”

Text by Ancelmo James

On the night of January 12th, 2014 I walked down the stairs to the L train stop in Union Square with a friend having just finished work. As I came to the bottom of the steps I heard the warbly and somewhat eerie sound of someone playing the harmonica. I soon  saw a young man wearing a army green jumpsuit and a pink ski mask, who was in fact the one playing the harp, along with an arsenal of strange paraphernalia including an old dirty doll, a various assortment of what I believed to be goat and/or sheep hoof/nails tied to strings – of a percussive nature/function, a small chalk board asking – “what is object oriented ontology”, some other small trinkets, and an old McDonald’s french fry box.

At first glance upon arriving with only 1 minute to wait for the next Brooklyn bound L – according to the digital clock above, I thought to myself, “this dude is nuts?!” and completely disregarded him. I continued my conversation with my friend. A minute later the train did, in fact, not arrive, and the following train would be a 25 minute wait. over the next several minutes my interest in the young man and his act grew, along with the rest of the people in the vicinity of his set up and ear shot of his harp. The man was on kneeling on the ground breathing through his harmonica, slowly making long, slow gestures with his arms, in an almost ceremonial, spell like fashion. At one point he grabbed the doll and waved it around for a moment. As he breathed harder into the harp, a crescendo of tension and sound rolled through the air and he ripped the doll’s head off. He then proceeded to take numerous mammal nails and teeth and shook them in his hands before tossing them out across the floor like some kind of pagan craps dealer.

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Interview: the Colombian flute duo Camilo & Juan from Queens

Date: March 27, 2012
Location: Central Park

Text by Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi

Another Monday in my life… I had nothing to do, although I had something to do. Just got on a bus from the Upper West Side and let the bus take me to Columbus Circle. I looked for a coffee shop but couldn’t find something nice. So I decided to check out the park. From far I heard flute sounds which made me to enter the park. Eventually I found two flute players who were standing on a small hill. I went close and listened to their musi for a while.  After a while I decided to talk to them and took my iPhone out from my pocket and interviewed them. The interview was very easy going. I asked them to talk about themselves and their music.

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The Ebony Hillibillies – a New York subway platform institution since the late 1980s!

Date: September 7, 2011
Venue: 34th St. Hearald Square (NY) MTA station
Text by Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi

Today I was on my way to meet my wife at 43th Street and 6th Avenue. I was in a hurry because I didn’t want to keep my wife waiting outside in the rain. Just before the exit I heard some music behind me. I just turned around and saw a quartet – The Ebony Hillibillies – of interest looking guys playing a kind of acoustic, folky roots musicInstantly I took out my I phone and shot them for a couple of minutes. In a situation like this I usually would approach the band and ask for a short interview, but…my wife was waiting for me outside in the rain. Whom should I give priority my wife or this band? Of course my wife, right?

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William Ruiz – Taino percussionist!!

Text by Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi

Since this morning this gentleman – William Ruiz – has been following me on Twitter. I searched him in the internet and found out that he is a very talented percussionist. He’s playing the 12 tongue modern log drum and  a tribal drum set along with various percussion instruments in the NY subway and on the streets of NY. He’s an off/on stage musician creating great percussion sounds and rhythms.

Hope to see him soon in the subway and play with him. Enjoy the videos!

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Manze Dayila – performing at Union Square subway station, Mar 9th, 2010


Manze Dayila a singer from Haiti who regularly performs in the NY subway. I just met her this afternoon singing at Union Square station in NY when I was changing the trains on my way back home. Luckily I had my digital camera with me and shot her instantly, of course with her permission. I liked her voice and the way she was presenting herself.

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