The Noise Beneath the Apple®
In The Noise Beneath the Apple, author Heather Jacks takes us on a journey rich in the history of street performing – or busking – as it became widely known. The introduction to the book provides a historical narrative on how busking came to be. Jacks touches on the origins of performers from early Roman times to its evolution to the more well-known Romani performers, which is where most people conjure up the notion of someone performing for money on the streets. Jacks writes about the legal hurdles that buskers faced in the world, and more narrowly, in New York City.
This beautiful coffee table book, complete with a vinyl record of some of the buskers that Jacks interviewed, is bursting with photos by Bryan Close that bring the pages to life with the spirit of these buskers. We’ve all walked by street performers. Sometimes we stop to listen, tossing a few spare dollars into their open guitar case, but how many of us actually took the time to learn these performers’ stories. Noiseallows us to peek into this lifestyle. Some, like Luke Ryan, the Queens Cowboy, started performing to finally sow some wild oats after a failed marriage – and it just stuck. Others, like Samantha Margulies, a classically trained opera singer, not something you’d typically see on the streets of NYC, found busking gave her a level of freedom that she could not find in other performance arenas. Roosevelt Dime performs “steamboat soul,” as they call it, standing on the street corners with their banjo, trumpet, coronet, washtub bass, and woodwinds. Photographer Close also provides his own narrative on each of the buskers he photographed.
I jumped at the opportunity to review this gorgeous book. The record is filled with eclectic tracks that bring the spirit of these performers of New York City to the grooves of the vinyl as Jack’s words and Close’s photographs tell their stories. It’s this type of book that you will find always displayed on my coffee table for my guests to enjoy – allowing them to get lost in it for hours.
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