As a New York City based photographer and music lover, I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to walk theses streets, ride the rails and listen to live music on the daily. I’m not talking about concerts at major music venues like The Bowery Ballroom or Terminal 5, I’m talking about the beats and melodies that fill the airwaves of our underground world. No-ticket required for admission.
I’d like introduce our newest weekly installment — The Busking Collective. In NYC you are more than likely (at some point) going to hear musicians playing and using the natural acoustics of the subway tunnels, street performers feeding off the energy of the cities crowds, all while at the same time earning a living doing what they love. This is passion. This is dedication. And these Buskers are the people I have the utmost respect for, because they bring life to our otherwise mundane commutes, everyday.
One fucking freezing night in January, a few friends and I entered the turnstiles of the Bedford Station in Brooklyn, in hopes that the L train was in fact running, when we heard the faint sounds of a bluegrass band. It was a little before midnight and we were just coming off the high of an incredible Haerts show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. As we walked down the stairs and onto the platform, a crowd was forming near this sound, some kept moving, but not without recognition of this band’s talents. Some spectators dropped what little money they had to give, snapped a quick pic, then moved along down the platform. As we got closer, I was intrigued. He had a simple set up: banjo in hand, tambourine on one foot, kick drum banging away with the other, and a case on the floor with the helpings from his short-lived fan base. Morgan O’Kane’s talent was apparent — raspy but strong voice, with a presence destined for the stage. For now, he’ll settle for Bedford Ave.
Next time you’re out and about, slow down and take a minute when you come across one of these great talents. Listen, tap your foot, bob your head, make eye contact, smile, throw in a dollar, grab a business card, buy a CD if you still have a CD player, become a fan on Facebook and show support. It takes balls to go out there, play, dance, sing and entertain.