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April 28th, 2009


My music education began in Austin, TX.  And now, a fortnight later, I am in New Orleans, LA, basking in the sweet sound from the instruments of street musicians.  This morning, in true New Orleans outré fashion, a band comprised of six young adults who could not have been more than twenty years of age took to the streets at 3 A.M. playing trumpets, trombones, and drums.  Within the blink of an eye, a throng of people crowded around this magnificent display of brass.  There was more energy there than any concert of 10 magnitudes greater.  The feeling was ineffable.  It was music done grassroots style – arms were flying in ecstasy, torsos were moving like flowing water, and feet were shuffling as if it were 1969.  Words weren’t needed for unity.  The drumbeat transcended reality.

A good lyric or tune can comfort and console, incite anger and outrage, inspire and encourage, or impart knowledge and wisdom.  A song has the power to remind us of a loved one and dig up remnants of a past long forgotten.  Many times, it is unforgiving, making us relive memories we secretly tried to tuck away in a safe box.  For many of these street musicians, music is all they have left.  It is their blessing and it is their curse.  I am reminded of Otis Redding’s “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”, a poignant tune that I imagine some of these artists must breathe and feel.

So I’m just gonna sit on the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away
Ooo, I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Wastin’ time

Look like nothing’s gonna change
Everything still remains the same
I can’t do what ten people tell me to do
So I guess I’ll remain the same, yes

It is with these street musicians that I can appreciate the most.  And best of all, it’s free.

  1. April 28th, 2009 at 12:43 | #1

    foto cred// Casey MacKenzie

  2. Sophey
    May 2nd, 2009 at 17:22 | #2

    Wow, Andrew…I am so in awe of all your experiences. Though, I did not read all your entries, those that I’ve read are quite intriguing, esp, “walking the ethic line” :). I hope you are staying safe, dry, warm, fed, & have easy access to a bathroom :).

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