With music spilling onto sidewalks across the nabe, our reporters set out to cover as much of the free Make Music New York tunes as possible. Keep checking back for updates throughout the day to see what we saw and heard when we dropped into the pop-up concert venues.
Update 6:35 p.m.:
We’re wrapping up reporting for the day here at The Nabe. Thanks for keeping up with our coverage of Make Music New York and be sure check back next week, when we’ll have a video wrap of the performances.
Update 6:18 p.m.:
When Brother High started its set 45 minutes late, it meant that Kelly Saint Patrick would have her set pushed back as well. When she finally took the stage after 4:45 p.m. she wasted no time delivering her country style rock music to a crowd at Cuyler-Gore Park.
Through the change in time, Saint Patrick performed admirably as the sun began to set in North Brooklyn.
“Her performance is very nice. She has a good voice and is doing a great job up there,” Rosemarie Morell said while she watched Saint Patrick belt out the upbeat song “Hell on Heels”. Though four people on stage accompanied her, Saint Patrick shined through with stage presence and her beautiful voice.
Update 5:42 p.m.:
Standing in the center of the wooden floor at JACK, a performance space at 505 1/2 Waverly Avenue, Arijit Chakraborty crosses his arms and vocalist Joshua Joseph starts to talk. “Seize, seize, oceans. Rivers. Walking through a river and drowning. I mean, learn how to swim.”
Saxophonist Jesiah Bray plays a long quiet note and guitarist Yeonathan Shachar plucks two strings. Then Chakraborty forms a spade-like shape with his hands.
Joseph keeps speaking, and Chakraborty extends his left hand and places his right fist on top. He then traces his outer forearm with two fingers, stopping at the elbow. Bray honks his sax, Shachar plucks a series of notes, and Chakraborty spreads his arms wide apart.
Drawing from a vocabulary of more than 1,200 gestures, Chakraborty is soundpainting, and the three musicians, all members of the Brooklyn Soundpainting Ensemble, are responding by following their instincts. Speaking during a break between improvisations, Chakraborty said that he’s “never actually walked into a soundpainting piece with an idea of what I was going to do.”
“[I] see what ideas they have, then, go with what they have,” he said. “There’s no mistakes, just keep signing.”
Shachar said that soundpainting frees musicians to be themselves.
“[It's] very accepting of who musicians are,” he said. “You can form a whole piece around every musician’s ideas.”
At JACK, the result sounded like a mix of free jazz and spoken word. The group had an audience of two, but seemed happy to play for themselves.
Update 4:21 p.m.:
One of the more unique sounds of the day at Green in BKLYN was electronic-pop duo The Statue of David. The electronic duo played to a crowd of intent listeners who sat for most of the set. The occasional passerby usually stopped for a minute to listen to what was being performed.
The Statue of David’s sound was not the typical electronic music dance music that is being played on mainstream radio these days. This was much more laid back – a rhythmic sound which incorporated natural sounds. The duo also incorporated several popular riffs and sounds.
“As a fan of electronic music I think their sound is awesome,” said Robin Goldson, a Brooklyn native who nearly watched the entire set. “I really like how they are not using a laptop and instead opted for synths, keyboards and other old-fashioned and natural stuff. That is definitely becoming more rare.”
Update 4:06 p.m.:
Teen rockers MOTP, short for Members of the Press, entertained a small but enthusiastic audience in front of the Walt Whitman Library this afternoon. Brian D’Addario, 16, who played electric guitar, his brother Michael, 14, who played drums, Danny Ayala, 15, who played piano and Thomas Murphy, 15, who played bass, started the band in the third grade.
The four teens might be from Hicksville, Long Island, but that didn’t stop the D’Addarios’ mother from asking organizers of Make Music New York if they could play some gigs.
At the performance the band played a combination of covers and original songs, mostly from decades past. Although Brian was the lead vocalist on most of the songs, the other performers also sang. As well as playing drums, Michael led the vocals on the Pixies song “Gigantic”.
Before launching into “The Weight” by The Band, Brian said, “We’re going to do a song by The Band.”
“Oh, an original song?” an audience member asked.
“No, we’re doing an original song next,” he said. “This is a song by the band ‘The Band’,” he joked, as the audience laughed.
The audience danced and clapped, and some approached the members afterwards to congratulate them.
If you want to catch MOTP, the band is heading to another performance at the Pine Box Rock Shop on Grattan Street later tonight.
Update 3:38 p.m.:
The musicians in Haitian Rara band Brother High missed their show at Cuyler-Gore Park because they were “on the train,” according to Craig Bannister, an event coordinator for the Fulton Area Business Alliance. But that didn’t stop locals from having fun, thanks to hula hoops and sidewalk chalk that saved the day.
Update 3:14 p.m.:
Youth group Griot Blues kicked off its Make Music New York appearances with a performance outside of Fresh Fanatic grocery store on the corner of Park and Washington Avenues. Lo Anderson, 21, played the guitar and sang a mix of songs and improvised lyrics, while the other members of the group – Sean B., 22, Darren Arthur, 19, and Maya Osborne – took turns accompanying her with spoken word and freestyle.
“I like how open and free they are,” said Max Sal, 29, who was walking by. “They have a great chemistry.”
Anderson and Sean B. met when they were teenagers and have been performing together for the past five years. Sean B. described the group’s style as a mix of hip-hop soul and acoustic poetry.
“It’s great, we get a chance to play where we come from,” Sean B. said. “I used to play in that playground over there.”
Griot Blues is headed next to Fort Greene Park, so be sure to stop by if you’re in the area.
Update 2:40 p.m.:
Jazzy melodies and percussion drew an audience of about 25 or 30 to the Tomorrow Sculpture at the corner of Fort Greene Park, where an ensemble from P.S. 20 on Adelphi Street performed for a half hour. The 12 student performers, all third and fourth graders, played a variety of instruments – three students on the clarinet, five on trumpets, one on the saxophone, two on drums and one on the bass guitar.
Parents, siblings and other passersby clapped and applauded as the students performed well-known numbers such as “Killing Me Softly” and “Isn’t She Lovely.”
Clara Flanders, a fourth grader playing the saxophone, said she was thrilled to participate in Make Music New York because “it’s in the neighborhood. The audience is from all walks of life.”
Update 2:28 p.m.:
At Gnarly Vines and Le Petit Bakery, the free day of music began with Edwin Vazquez and his three man guitar driven band. Bringing a Latin Music sound, their guitar driven rhythms drew in those who passed by. Many people stopped for a few minutes to listen, but some even stayed for extended periods of time.
“He is very good and talented,” said local resident Misal Crespo. “Being of Latin American descent, it’s great to hear this music in my neighborhood.”
All three members of the group were on guitar, except for Vazquez, who also had drums wedged between his legs. Despite all three performers having microphones, only Edwin contributed vocals, which were in Spanish.
As the time wore on, those who didn’t stop and watch seemed to continue along their way, some seeming oblivious to the music playing. Others found themselves dancing, taking pictures and enjoying a beautiful afternoon with music.
Update 1:45 p.m.:
Green in BKLYN owner Elissa Olin said she was looking forward to meeting electronic music artist Sanpo Matsumoto, because his emails were so friendly. When he arrived at the shop on Myrtle Avenue, Matsumoto began setting up equipment on a folding table on the sidewalk. He set up a Yamaha sampler that still takes floppy disks, a small synthesizer, a Roland amp and a smaller machine called a Kaossilator.
The first sounds to come out of the speaker were a bell ring, a railroad whistle of sorts and some bleeps. When he touched the touchscreen on the Kaossilator, the music modulated in accordance with the motion of his fingers. Later, he added beats, loops and the first touch of a human voice.
“It’s really nice to watch what him,” said Green in BKLYN employee Taylor Hermes, who spent time outside watching Matsumoto. “I have no idea what he’s doing, but it’s really interesting to hear the sounds introduced at the slightest touch of a finger.”
Philippe Theise, Emily Field, Amanda Woods and Jason Bisnoff contributed reporting.