Bach, Boston, Urban

Closure.

Ok, friends, explanation/apology time…

I’ve been away for a bit more than a week but there IS a good reason…

Yup.

Yup.

Now, let me explain…

A week ago (last Wednesday) I was supposed to have this super busy day with a recording session, job interview, lawyer meeting for my visa application, an Opera rehearsal and of course, performing with Simone…

Yet, life has this very interesting way of flipping the table where you’re building your destiny’s puzzle and well, long story short, I had a bike accident that broke my left clavicle and unfortunately one of the extras of this incident is that playing my cello won’t be an option for me at least for the next 6-8 weeks

As you might infer, It’s been a tough week, you guys… this project that we work so hard on had to be stopped just for a stupid accident and it was painful to see it crumble

I couldn’t even get myself to write a post… but it’s only logical, I think…

After a few days of mourning, I had a long talk with Simone about what to do and we came to the conclusion that we had gone so far with this project that it would be unfair if we didn’t find a way to conclude it as we planned

In Colombia we have this saying that goes “it’s better to have friends than money”, so honoring that wise train of thought I decided to ask a friend of us if he would be interested in playing our final concert with Simone and luckily, he said yes

His name is Simon and he is one terrific Cellist, one who he was so kind and willing to take my place which was something that gave me great relief.

Naturally,  having covered the “we don’t have a cellist” issue I was able to have a more focused idea of what my role could be in this final step of the way and I decided that the least I could do was to be there and introduce the concert.

In spite of this obnoxious shoulder pain I’ve been carrying for the past week, I went there and talked about the project in front of our audience. To my surprise there were 8, yes, EIGHT people that saw our performances somewhere at an MBTA station, park or else and felt attracted enough to come to the final one!

When we started I said to myself that it would be great to get at least five people that saw us somewhere to come for the Pickman concert and well, we got 3 more than what I aimed for so as Kermit puts it

Yay indeed, Kermit…

After I introduced the concert I took my seat and I couldn’t help myself being filled with the nostalgia of not being able to play those notes one last time before Simone and I part ways (she leaves the US for good in a week which is really sad)

Safe to say, I looked a bit sappy through the whole thing…

Don't I?

Didn’t I?

But anyway…

The duo of Simon and Simone (no joke intended) were set to do the final performance of this journey and boy they did a great job at Pickman

My point of view during the performance

My point of view during the performance

I think everybody present at this concert had a good time but I’m sure not as much as me. It was tremendously rewarding to see the culmination of a project unveil the right way, even though we had this major bump down our path.

In conclusion, I wanna come out and say that if you are a musician, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for you to take your music to people out there, everywhere, in any way you find suiting to reach out for those uncharted audiences.

You will be surprised how much they will want to listen

We would like to thank Longy and our teachers for the support given to us in this journey, it was indeed priceless

Thanks to Simon for his kindness to step up and cover for me and allowing this to have the proper ending. I’m in big debt to you, my friend

Of course, I have to give the biggest thank you to my partner in crime, Simone.

Thank you for being such a trooper and basically have no buts when we made this crazy initiative take place

You were always up for anything… You’re simply the best, “Dani”!

Last but not least, thank YOU, kind reader for following us in these adventures, even if you did so for a little bit… it was so nice to find out that this blog was being read up to 60 times a day in some cases

I wish you the best and know that if you have any questions for me or Simone, you can always contact us at davidhurtadocellist@gmail.com, we will be more than happy to answer them if we can

Take good care, y’all!

See you somewhere down the road!

See you somewhere down the road!

 

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Bach, Boston, Urban

Viva L’Italia!

Another gorgeous day in Boston, sunny, not too warm nor too hot and a bit of a breeze going around was just the icing on the cake to get us motivated enough to be outdoors today, so, you guessed it, we played in a park this morning

Not just any park, by the way, we went to the Paul Revere Park in the North End (or the “Little Italy” as some call it) which is just right outside of NEMPAC (http://www.nempacboston.org/), which again, is one of the places I work at and I don’t know if you’ve ever been around this area in Boston but this park is just a fantastic place, surrounded by this magic atmosphere this neighborhood has

This is MY spot!

This is MY spot!

We found a really nice spot to play at, we sat down and we enjoyed our time there, we had some people listen to us who thanked us for being there, but the problem is that we STILL haven’t been able to find away to get people to take a card to be invited for the concert so the experiment continues to be unsuccessful…

Told you is was a nice spot!

Told you it was a nice spot!

Also, one thing that we learned today is that we might wanna get a mosquito repellent to be outside because that was a really annoying part of this, this green annoying little things kept landing on my cello but anyway, the performance was a nice one and we even ran into one of our teachers from Longy, the great Dr. Dudas (also known as Dr. D) who complimented us in what we we’re doing which is nice because he is one of the early music gurus at out former school!

Yay!

For today I have no more stories for you, my friends but I do wanna of course, invite you again to come to Pickman Hall at the Longy School of Music of Bard College (27 Garden St, Cambridge MA 02138) on July 2nd at 7:30 pm to listen to our closing concert and remember that it’s free so please do bring a friend!

Thanks for reading, friends and have a good night!

 

 

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Bach, Boston, Urban

When in doubt, just go where everybody knows your name

So yesterday we had a bad experience playing at North Station that it was kind of a let down, it didn’t feel good to be ignored by people passing by given that so far we have had some sort of a perfect record in getting people’s attention… we got spoiled…

So as we wanted to go back on our feet we looked for shelter again at one of our very successful spots in the past: Harvard Square

This chairs on the spot are so so convenient!

This chairs on the spot are so so convenient!

Playing here is so rewarding, people always pays attention, plus, we got one of the best compliments we have gotten so far: “you guys are so brave! thank you for bringing light to this station with your music…”

Heart. Melt.

Not everything is good and dandy, though.

One problem that I have detected is that the business card/invitation strategy is not quite working out a lot, people don’t make an effort to read so I really need to re structure the way I present them to the audience

After that we moved on to Copley Station which has a space with really nice acoustics and on the plus side, here the cards/invitation strategy took an interesting turn because we had many people taking one with them. Who knows, maybe they could eventually come up to the final concert.

Still have to work on a more attractive strategy, though

These old columns are always something very appealing for me to see... don't ask me why...

I always think these old columns are always something very nice to see… don’t ask me why…

I’m hopeful for what’s to come as we approach the end of this journey

Again, please remember that if you are in the Boston area on July 2nd, come at 7:30 pm to Pickman Hall at the Longy School of Music of Bard College to get some good dose of Bach

Also, if you can’t come, catch our performance through livestream at http://www.longy.edu/livestream

Thanks for reading again and have a very good night

Another one goes down

Another one goes down

 

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Bach, Boston, Urban

And finally, we got our most wanted spot…

So today was FINALLY the day when we got to sit down at Harvard Station (no guitar guy around for a change) and you know what? now I understand why it’s such a hard spot to get

Sitting here to play made us recover our faith in Cambridge in terms of appreciating art because lets face it, people in this area tend to be a little bit of a stuck up and their level of appreciation has a “high standard” regardless…

I live in Cambridge, trust me on this one! heh…

But anyway, people here were very nice and welcoming, many just stood and watch (including an adorable kid and his mom that even asked which “song” were we playing) and we liked it so so much that we decided that the best would be to do our two performances there and it was a quite good decision, let me tell you

As a lady who was listening put it “it’s just so nice to have these kind of things here!”

I think what helps Harvard Square to be special is that it’s also a melting pot, just like Downtown Crossing… It is only in these two places where we had people actually applauding after we finished performing a piece… It’s a great feeling!

Another interesting thing the day brought was that a friend of us, Paul Sayed (shout out to Paul!) came by and took some pictures of us that we could use for many things so we had that going for us, which is nice

Here’s a link to the gallery (again, click on the picture to access the slide show):

Tomorrow is gonna be a very warm and humid day so we’ll see where we end up!

For now that’s all and again, remember to come to Pickman Hall at the Longy School of Music of Bard College (27 Garden St, Cambridge MA, 02138) at 7:30 pm on July 2nd to our closing concert! free admission so bring a friend!

Have a good night and thanks a million for reading!

FINALLY!!!

FINALLY!!!

 

 

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Bach, Boston, Urban

Downtown Crossing, you’ve been great!

Today Simone and I agreed to meet early to do our usual 2 performances per day so I could come back in time and watch the Colombia debut in the World Cup and I’m glad we did because the game was GLORIOUS! 16 years of wait and we won 3 – 0!

But I’m rambling here…

We decided to try and find the Harvard Spot so we went there at 9 am and guess what!? IT WAS TAKEN AGAIN!

By a guitar player, not less, but a different one this time (?)

Anyway, we again improvised and we went to Downtown Crossing to see if it would work and by God it did

First we went to the very first busking spot I saw in Boston which is on the Forest Hills platform at this Station

It went SO well! people stopping to listen, thanking us and such. Of all of them, there was this kind lady who approached us asking if she could take a picture of us to which we agreed with the condition that she would take one of us for the blog while we played given that so far we haven’t been able to get one (I’m not one to give my phone to a random person in the street but she seemed reliable)

Luckily, this lady was really nice and took this great pic of us:

I wanted one of these since the project started!

I wanted one of these since the project started!

Also, the lady got really intrigued about our project so I told her she could come over to this blog and check the whole story out so she took a pic of the URL and said she would… if you’re reading, hi! and thank you!

Finally, the very nice lady on the right asked us for a business card and I was prepared, so, we’ll see 😛

Then, we moved to the Red Line section of Downtown Crossing that goes to Alewife and we got a fair amount of attention also, with people being super appreciative of our job

So yeah, to all you buskers out there, Downtown Crossing is a great place to do your performances, great tipping, nice appreciative crowds and last but certainly not least, killer acoustics

For now this is it and remember that our performance at Pickman Hall (27 Garden St, Cambridge, MA 02138) it’s on July 2nd at 7:30 pm and it’s free, so come get your Bach fix as God intended it to

Have a good night, everybody!

You are the best, Crossing!

You are the best, Crossing!

 

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Bach, Boston, Urban

Appearances can be deceiving

So dear Simone and I went today to continue our search for the golden spot which is Harvard Square Station… again it was occupied by the guy that every time that sees me with my Cello on my back starts playing the prelude of the 1st Cello Suite by Bach on his guitar (if you don’t know which piece is this, don´t worry, you do, you just don’t know you know it, go to Youtube and you’ll see)

So we decided to take on Porter and Kendall given that they were really easy to get to

We got to Porter and well, if you’ve been there, you will know that this station is so deep underground it’s intimidating (32 meters/105ft) making it the deepest one of the MBTA system and yes, the spot to play here is riiiiiiiiight at the end of this

Dude, that's deep!

Dude, that’s deep!

This performance was great, we had even a jolly fella come up to us and thank you for our playing, ask us about the pieces we were playing and even our nationalities (I am Colombian and Simone is Swedish in case you were wondering).

Another great part is that a very nice atmosphere can be created there because when there’s no trains around you hear nothing and the acoustics are great!

After we were done there we moved to Kendall/MIT station

Now, let me rant a little bit here…

This place is right below a part of the MIT, a place that has the produced some of mankind’s greatest minds so you would think that at least some people would be appreciative of what we’re doing… you would be wrong

I don’t know if it was because it was raining outside or what but we barely had people glancing at what was happening even though the spot to play here makes you VERY visible because is RIGHT next to the access to the platform.

Also, this is the only station in ALL of the MBTA system that has a musical gizmo incorporated to it that looks like this

pretty nifty!

pretty nifty!

And sounds like this

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to say that Simone and I should be praised every second or anything like that but it is puzzling that a town that is supposed to be so keen to the artistic and intellectual as Cambridge you find a poorer response to art than at a place that somebody looks down so much like Roxbury (shout-out to the “Bury”! I love that place)

Also, the wind tunnel in this place is dreadful, at some point Simone’s stand was knocked down by it… not cool…

Anywho, tomorrow Simone and I will have our first concert of the cycle in an actual recital setting at the First Baptist Church at Newton MA, the address is 848 Beacon St at 12:30 pm in case you’re reading this and you live in the Boston area and wanna come by!

The best part of all? it’s free!

We are very excited!

Have a good night!

NOT impressed by you two...

NOT impressed by you two…

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Bach, Boston, Urban

This is how it went down.

As planned (for a change), Ms. Trollmo and I made our way to the north side of the Red Line, namely Davis and Alewife Stations

These two are very interesting places to play and this is mainly for the flux of people and for the performance area location in them

Davis has the performance spot on the platform and even though it’s noisy when trains come by, it’s really nice acoustically and people were rather receptive to what we were doing

Is it here?

Is it here?

Yes! yes it is!

Yes! yes it is!

Moving on to the northernmost end of the Red Line, we arrived to Alewife looking around for our spot to get to it and we stumbled with this beauty of a performance area

We loved it here!

We loved it here!

Playing here was also very interesting because of the time we picked (4:30 pm)

This time slot is basically rush hour so it had more and more people coming in and out of the station as our performance progressed

This place was rad!

This place was rad!

We had at least 4 people completely stopping their walk to read the signs while we performed and thanking us for our performance.

Yet, the highlight of the day to us was when a mother took almost 10 minutes of her time to stand in front of us with her baby on a stroller (who by the way, had his eyes fixated completely on us) to just enjoy what we were doing

Things like this makes it worthwhile to pursue this kind of projects, for sure

That’s it for today but we’re very excited for Wednesday given that we will have our first formal performance of this repertoire at the First Baptist Church at Newton (shout-out to Rachel Kurihara, Music Director of this Church for inviting us!)

Red Line North is DOWN!

Red Line North is DOWN!

See you tomorrow, peeps!

 

 

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