by Chana Budnitz
Everyone in New York knows the infamous morning rush through the subway station. Just a few more seconds before the clock strikes nine and you are late. Again. But life is too damn short to rush from Point A to Point B without hearing the music, noticing the dance routines, and feeling the beat of the city. The beauty of the subway station is that it doesn’t just bridge the distance between two locations, but it serves as a platform for the best, often hidden, artists in the city. Here is a short compilation of five of the best underground talent to check out below our incredible city:
- Too Many Zooz, is a New York City based music trio formed by Leo Pellegrino, Matt Doe, and David Parks, combining the saxophone, trumpet, and drums with killer dance moves. In March 2014, a video of them performing at Union Square Station went viral on YouTube and they gained fame. Nevertheless they are still often found performing in Union Square Station near the Q, N, and R lines, enhancing our daily commutes with their unique, upbeat sound. Next time you’re passing through, take your time.Take notice. You definitely don’t want to miss them.
- Lucky Chops. Like Too Many Zooz they too have already risen to fame and perform outside of the station. But, sometimes you can find them frequenting the 34th Street stop and other central subway locations and they’re far too good not to include in this list. The band combines the incredible talent of Josh Holcomb, Daro Behroozi, Joshua Gawel, Raphael Buyo, and Charles Sames. With a blend of different brass instruments and powerful energy, Lucky Chops inspires and fills the station with life.
- Gabriel Aldort aka Galdort Gumbo a blues inspired, piano playing subway busker often found frequenting Grand Central Station and Penn Station as well as The Staten Island Ferry Terminal. His one of a kind soulful voice is a much needed breather from the perpetually rushed, late, and frustrated mob of NYC commuters. Galdort Gumbo’s New Orleans Blues music was greatly influenced by Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Billy Joel, and Elton John. You can check out his website at galdortmusic.com and keep your eyes and ears open for him whenever you’re underground!
- Samantha Echo: Born as Samantha Margulies and a literature student at Hunter College, her beautiful Italian Opera music juxtaposed with the urban subway setting is not to be missed. Although her opera is impressive, her talent doesn’t stop there. She has a pretty great handle on contemporary and classic pop as both a singer and song-writer as well. Trust us on this: you haven’t seen talent till you’ve seen Echo. She’s got a voice that could stop a train in its tracks, and we kind of wish it did so that we can have just a little more time with her before rushing off to our next destination. Samantha Echo is a licensed subway performer with the Music Under New York Program and is found at prime subway station locations, like Union Square Station and Herald Square Station. For more info and to stay updated on Samantha’s musical career, check out her website at www.samanthaechomusic.com.
- Afrikumba Utibe Drummers: If you haven’t seen these guys, you’re doing your commute all wrong. Most commonly spotted at Port Authority, this band has got the beat, reminding us what music can do and the emotions it can can generate. All the way from Trinidad and Tobago, they bring the soul and rhythm of the African beat to the NYC Underground with a passion to connect people to one another and make them smile. “Utibe” means miracle and “Afrikumba” means African creativity. This is their mission statement, so go ahead and get inspired.
As students in one of the busiest parts of the city, we’re often hustling to get to where we have to go. It’s easy to forget how much life and music the city has to offer when we are rushing to get places, to get papers in on time, and maintain some sort of a social life. Sometimes the best remedy to our daily stresses is just to slow down, open our ears, and hear the beat of the city!