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October 04, 2013


Phil Woodbury

Just walked through Porter Square where a well decorated piano has been situated for several days. A woman was playing American Songbook standards and various people sang along, a constantly changing group of performers. What a wonderful idea.

Great piece, as always, Paul. See you in NOLA.

Paul A. Tamburello, Jr aka pt at large

In the two hours I spent on Boston Common, the spectators took photos and videos but didn't talk with each other or the piano players. I chatted with Billy and his two friends then with the young woman playing piano down by the Visitor Center. Not many people stopped there, the ones who did watched silently then moved on. I was surprised there wasn't more interaction.
I would have been shocked had there been no interaction in Porter Square. People are used to seeing and interacting with unusual sights around there.

K. Burton Jones

While there are many things I like about this post I will mention two. It is wonderful to get the word out about this fabulous project. I had visitors from Denmark last earlier in the month and we saw the piano on the courtyard at Harvard. They were thrilled to see it but I didn’t have much of the back story to give them. We moved on to our appointments. Now I can send them the link to this blog and links to the project. Thank you!

What I like even more is that you continue the tradition started by some of the best folklife recorder, Alan Lomax and Stetson Kennedy, who made a life’s work of recording the life and folklife of the places they went. For Stetson, it was mostly Florida, while Alan took in the world. Your blog gives us all a look (and sometimes a listen) to arts, culture, the everyday, and the extraordinary. That you took the time to sit and talk with Billy is special and reflects the close looking and listening that you do.

We can capture hundreds and thousands of digital images now but what are they really worth without the story or at least a caption. They are just the random snapshot found in the attic years later. Capturing Billy’s story brings a vibrancy and depth to the piano project. Yes, Billy accepted the request from the piano and played. Without your chronicle, Billy would just be another person who sat down to play. Then you gave us more of the richness of the scene (our context) and the others who played (our characters). Thinking of homeless Billy and his life in the shadow of the golden dome of the state capitol building is a poignant thought. Your picture of Boston Common is layered and deep.

Paul A. Tamburello, Jr aka pt at large


Your message is very thoughtful, with personal insight and references your personal experience of seeing a piano in the installation and your reaction to it. It adds content by mentioning ALan Lomax and Stetson Kennedy, both of whom dedicated their lives to capturing folklore and folk and country roots music.

I appreciate your reflection about Billy in your closing. One of the last people i expected to see at the piano was a homeless man. To have talked with him and recorded his words and playing on video was a gift, just the kind of interaction the creator had in mind when he began taking it around the world.

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