Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Would You Have Noticed?

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin. It was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by, and a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds - and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping - continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention, was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried - but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk - turning his head al l the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in t he world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats average $100.

This is a real story:
Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world - playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

Read the full story here:


Joshua Bell's Website:


Friday, January 2, 2009

Slaid Cleaves

Happy New Year everybody!

I hope that everyone had a great, happy & healthy holiday – and that 2009 shapes up to be a great year for all.

For my first post of the year – a year that I will take my cue from the best music blog out there – “Teenage Kicks” (see our links section) – I want to occasionally bring to you some of the great music that is out there that might have slipped by your CD collection.

Over the holidays, I was listening to this guy – Slaid Cleaves – a lot. Slaid is one of those singer songwriters who people rave about – and I’ll be no different. The ease with which he delivers his songs is so seemingly effortless and smooth that you almost overlook the craft by which he has molded some of the best storytelling songs out there.

For those of you who don’t know his music – may I suggest his CD: “Broke Down” as a pretty good starting point? I was playing down at SXSW a few years back – and ended up sitting next to Slaid on stage during a “Songwriters In The Round” show – and Slaid nailed the title track of this CD during one round. As he finished, I leaned over to him and said, “Whatever CD that is on – I’m buying it as soon as we walk off this stage.”

Slaid & I ended up trading CD’s – and I fell in love with his music. Imagine if Springsteen had flushed out “Nebraksa” with a few great ‘Americana’ styled players and Emmylou singing harmonies – and that’s the general idea.

So … there you go … take a look & listen at his website – and then buy a CD (or two or three).

Till next time … meet me down at the Horseshoe Lounge.