Perhaps I can walk the walk. Today, on my way into work at the California Historical Society I decided to take a detour across Yerba Buena Gardens. To my good fortune I happened to walk right past two women, somewhere in their late 50's to mid 60's, sitting on a planter behind the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and playing harmonicas. They were mostly playing by memory though they did have one or two pages of hand written notes on the bench next to them.
I thought, "Gee, this is swell! Alan Lomax is right, there is folk music all around us, we just need to go look for it." With a new spring in my step I headed towards Third. Then, it struck me. I have my computer right here in my hand. I've talked a lot about making impromptu field recordings. "I'm a fool if I pass this up!" So, turned right back around, sat listening to them for a song and then asked them if they wouldn't mind my recording them. After a minute or so of bashfulness on all hands and some on the fly translating into Chinese, there seemed to be a bit of confusion in conversation.
The woman who later identified herself as Yocito (or Yoshido? a very Japanese name if that's the case) started singing to me. I soon caught on that it was Santa Lucia and joined her. Then, without much notice, they started playing. I opened up Garage Band and this is what happened.
After Santa Lucia they went into what they identified as a Chinese Song. I tried to get the name down (Choi Yu Ven?) but they later translated it into something along the lines of "Beautiful is the color of the light of the moon." One Italian song and one Chinese song; could this be any more perfect as a purely San Franciscan music experience? It's the musical equivalent of the corner of Columbus and Grant.
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All I can say is that that was the perfect way to start my morning. I adore San Francisco and this will not be the last time that I record this city.