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Emily Grossman

Waikiki Buskers

November 30, 2005 at 11:26 AM

After filling to the gills with over forty excellent varieties of sushi and sashimi at Todai's all-you-can-eat sushi bar, my friends and I strolled on the downtown streets to boost our digestion. We were also curious about the types of people that would be performing on the streets that night.

I hope it was a slow evening. The amount of talent I saw was pretty low: a few portrait painters, several frozen mimes, an unsightly bikini-clad palm reader, some break dancers with great spins and no rhythm... The act I got the most kicks from was a mismatched duo consisting of a man playing soprano sax and a silver painted drummer, complete with duct tape pants. They made several attempts at A-Train, never once making it past the first eight bars. I wish I could have heard what the sax player was saying between efforts. All I could hear was the count to four with the drumsticks, followed by a wide variety of tempos and rhythms, none of which remotely resembled A-Train. The dozen or so variations that I witnessed had me clutching my gut with glee. I wondered if this was their actual ploy that they used to get tips just because people would feel sorry for them. I almost gave them a buck.

Down a ways further, we found what we were looking for: a large toothless Samoan and his equally large buddy, both wearing Santa hats and sarongs, singing traditional Hawaiian folk tunes and strumming on the guitar and ukulele. They sang in casual bellows, using mostly vowels and trailing the phrases into the dirt. The guitars had a seasoned, fixed, easy groove that conveyed a feeling that they had always been there, singing their songs, and didn't mind at all if they stayed until dawn. I watched them for quite a while in admiration. How do you sing with no teeth, anyway?

From Linda L
Posted on November 30, 2005 at 11:40 AM
The same way you do vibrato with 3-inch nails.
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on November 30, 2005 at 8:15 PM
Mostly vowels.

Were the two last doing it for a living? You know, if you're after music you'll have to seek out the night life. But you really want the Caribbean islands.

From Emily Grossman
Posted on December 1, 2005 at 4:55 AM
Oh, I don't know what they were doing for a living. Possibly. I'm having a tough time finding any music, but I'm pretty sure we'll get to see at least something or other at the luau.

Did I mention this is a ridiculously glorious vacation? It's ridiculous.

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on December 1, 2005 at 4:01 PM
This looks like a possibility, and it's tonight. The luau will be hokey as it gets, I'm afraid. This on the other hand, will be fun...if you dare.

From Emily Grossman
Posted on December 2, 2005 at 9:57 AM
Been to a luau? I have no idea what I'm getting into. Guess we'll find out. And if we're lucky, I just might find out about Mama Zang and the mullet man, too.
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on December 3, 2005 at 6:11 AM
The buskers may be better in Soldotna, but the weather must be better in Waikiki.
From Emily Grossman
Posted on December 3, 2005 at 9:23 AM
Heck no, we don't even have any buskers in Soldotna, Pauline. Unless you call frozen people mimes.

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