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Thread: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

  1. #1
    Site founder Scott Tichenor's Avatar
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    Default Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    When travel throws a wrench at your plans, make the most of it.

    Last night was my last full night in Queens/Manhattan doing some business with Dan Beimborn and making visits to Retrofret but mostly a getaway for my second passion which is dining on exotic/bizarre foods.

    On the #7 subway headed into Manhattan when a train ahead has problems and we're stuck in an area I know nothing about. After 30 minutes I exit along with others and start walking. Find another subway stop, check... oh, that single malt bar in Williamsburg I'd decided I wouldn't visit is 20 minutes away. I'll start there. I switch trains a bit later to catch another, step off the subway at Metropolitan Ave. in Brooklyn and there's a guy holding an F mandolin with a spectacular Torch & Wire inlay. He's busking, he's pretty good! I drop a few dollars, chat, give him my business card--he's amongst us, though doesn't do the forum.

    We chat, he's having a crappy night on tips. "Want to get a whisky and dinner on the Cafe?" And so starts a pretty long evening chatting general music, living in Queens, Monroe, various mandolins, busking, his fine sounding Stiver.

    So, if you see him on the subway, drop a few dollars. Also plays dobro, pedal steel and guitar. A fine guy and a fine evening that ended late.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    somnamandolist Killian King's Avatar
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    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Queens busking mandolin player

    That's great.

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    Traveling Tracks Traveling Tracks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    I am a classical audio engineer by profession specializing in recording choirs and orchestras, and I love my career.
    But it's funny, sometimes you play the game where someone asks if you had to do something else, other than what you're currently doing, what would you do…..I now know. I'd be a street musician. I LOVE playing on the streets of NJ, NY, and PA….I actually do it several times a week. I bring my Weber F to every recording I do and during the downtime I roam and play as a strolling minstrel (as I'm usually called). Playing music on the streets is an absolute magnet….especially on a beautiful instrument that is unfamiliar to the general public. (although obviously increasing in popularity) But in this capacity I probably play in front of several hundred people each week if not one to two thousand…..and I am a proud proponent of the mandolin. Nothing stops 'em in their tracks like the G minor Presto! I don't play for money, although on more than one occasion people have thrown in some change if my case is open! Good times.
    "Be the change you want to see in the world"
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    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    Sounds like you were on the 7 and got of and on to the G. You must of have been around the corner from me. I will have to look for your friend. How was the whiskey?

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    Devotee of the Mando-Muse
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    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    Best story I've read all week!

    Kudos for being such a generous guy, Scott!
    Willy


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    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    Quote Originally Posted by Nevin View Post
    Sounds like you were on the 7 and got of and on to the G. You must of have been around the corner from me. I will have to look for your friend. How was the whiskey?
    The whisky was fine. Scots leave out the "e" in their version. No idea why, don't care to find out. We were at Isle of Skye, a pub specializing in single malts with the garden variety other whiskies from here and there. We went to a Chinese place that was pretty off the charts good for soup dumplings after that. Yes, that's exactly it. Got stalled at Hunter's Point I think, walked past Sweet Leaf coffee where I am this moment before finding the G. Leaving today. Still time to find some Thai or Tibetan in Jackson Heights before flying back to reality.

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    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    Man, I would think that busking with a mandolin would be quite a challenge. It's not exactly best-suited to being a solo instrument, and seems to sound best as part of an ensemble. It can sound great solo, but takes quite a bit of skill and effort (plus the right kind of tune) to make the sound "full enough" as a stand-alone instrument. What kind of music was Marc Orleans playing? Was he singing as well, or just playing music?

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    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    Sounds like fortune favored the willing, both of you. What a pleasant evening.

    Jamie
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    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    Quote Originally Posted by Nevin View Post
    Sounds like you were on the 7 and got of and on to the G. You must of have been around the corner from me. I will have to look for your friend.
    While you're at it, bring a video recorder!

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    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobin View Post
    Man, I would think that busking with a mandolin would be quite a challenge. It's not exactly best-suited to being a solo instrument, and seems to sound best as part of an ensemble. It can sound great solo, but takes quite a bit of skill and effort (plus the right kind of tune) to make the sound "full enough" as a stand-alone instrument. What kind of music was Marc Orleans playing? Was he singing as well, or just playing music?
    I've done loads of solo busking with mandolin, and it's my primary source of income. Although I will play a bit of old time/bluegrass, when playing on the street the vast majority of tunes I play are Scottish or Irish traditional. I find these tunes hold up fine just with the solo melody (and occasional double stops and chords). I play a national resonator which helps with volume, but have had just as much success with an f style mandolin, providing I can find somewhere quiet enough. Aside from weather, the main problem tends to be finding somewhere quiet enough, preferably with walls for the sound to bounce off.

    I know the irregularity of income, hassle with cops / shop owners / drunks etc, outside nature of it, and the thousands who walk by without paying the slightest bit of attention or with a dismissive comment mean it's not for everyone, but for me this is far outweighed by the freedom and ability to travel, the ability to make money playing music I enjoy for people, the sunshine and fresh air, and the many great people I have met through this.

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    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    Quote Originally Posted by Nevin View Post
    Sounds like you were on the 7 and got of and on to the G. You must of have been around the corner from me. I will have to look for your friend. How was the whiskey?
    When I get back up here would be happy to meet you for coffee at Sweet Leaf (my new favorite Queens coffee shop) or that nice looking French restaurant right outside the exit of the Vernon Blvd./Jackson Av. subway. Had I not still been coming out of a semi food coma from the day I would have just ended the evening there. Menu looked great.

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    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    Quote Originally Posted by neil argonaut View Post
    I've done loads of solo busking with mandolin, and it's my primary source of income. Although I will play a bit of old time/bluegrass, when playing on the street the vast majority of tunes I play are Scottish or Irish traditional. I find these tunes hold up fine just with the solo melody (and occasional double stops and chords). I play a national resonator which helps with volume, but have had just as much success with an f style mandolin, providing I can find somewhere quiet enough. Aside from weather, the main problem tends to be finding somewhere quiet enough, preferably with walls for the sound to bounce off.

    I know the irregularity of income, hassle with cops / shop owners / drunks etc, outside nature of it, and the thousands who walk by without paying the slightest bit of attention or with a dismissive comment mean it's not for everyone, but for me this is far outweighed by the freedom and ability to travel, the ability to make money playing music I enjoy for people, the sunshine and fresh air, and the many great people I have met through this.
    That is absolutely great!

    I was going to say to Tobin that a res makes a great solo instrument for outdoors. But you prove it.
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    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Tichenor View Post
    We chat, he's having a crappy night on tips. "Want to get a whisky and dinner on the Cafe?" And so starts a pretty long evening chatting general music, living in Queens, Monroe, various mandolins, busking, his fine sounding Stiver.
    I make it a policy to drop some money on any buskers I might pass on the street. I have never bumped into a mandolinner though. that would be a treat.
    Indulge responsibly!

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  17. #14

    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    I'm the said busker and hello forum! To answer the question about what I was playing it was just simple versions of fiddle tunes mostly oldtime but some bluegrass ones as well. "Forked Deer" "Jenny Lynn" "soldiers joy" "June Apple" "Big Mon" etc... Plus some singers. I normally busk with a dobro but I have been playing solo mando "pitches" as we buskers call 'em in order to practice the instrument and make a little scratch. It is less lucrative for me than dobro but I'm a more experienced dobroist.

    Meeting Scott was a great experience. It's kind of a validation for both my descision to work on a new and amazing instrument in public and my continued travels down the road to the roots.

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    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Tichenor View Post
    The whisky was fine. Scots leave out the "e" in their version. No idea why, don't care to find out. We were at Isle of Skye, a pub specializing in single malts with the garden variety other whiskies from here and there. We went to a Chinese place that was pretty off the charts good for soup dumplings after that. Yes, that's exactly it. Got stalled at Hunter's Point I think, walked past Sweet Leaf coffee where I am this moment before finding the G. Leaving today. Still time to find some Thai or Tibetan in Jackson Heights before flying back to reality.
    M Shanghai, I presume? On Grand? I'll have to check out Isle of Skye. Just around the corner from me.

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    Registered User David Rambo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    Welcome to the café!
    "Put your hands to the wood
    Touch the music put there by the summer sun and wind
    The rhythms of the rain, locked within the rings
    And let your fingers find The Music in the Wood."
    Joe Grant and Al Parrish (chorus from The Music in the Wood)

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    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    Great story, and welcome to the cafe Marc.

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    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    Welcome to the cafe, Tortchnwire!


    Scott, I wasn't aware that we were having a membership drive.

    Good job though.

    My GFs: Collings MF, Mandobird VIII, Mando-Strat, soprano & baritone ukuleles tuned to GDAE and a Martin X1-DE Guitar.

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    MandolaViola bratsche's Avatar
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    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    Welcome, Tortch! I must say, I really do miss living where there were buskers. I love watching and listening to them ply their trade, and at this point, would love to have a go of it again myself (I did so long ago and far away, on a different instrument...) Wish things were different here, as I could really use another respectable source of income. But, for whatever stupid reason, the powers that be in my general vicinity have long held that street musicians are lower on the totem pole than common beggars, who at least are not chased away when they beg every day at intersections and freeway entrance ramps.

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    Registered User Jeff Oxley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    Great (*true*) story, thanks Scott. And what mando was he playing.....a STIVER!

    Gotta love it (but no surprise).
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    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    Quote Originally Posted by bratsche View Post
    Welcome, Tortch! I must say, I really do miss living where there were buskers. I love watching and listening to them ply their trade, and at this point, would love to have a go of it again myself (I did so long ago and far away, on a different instrument...) Wish things were different here, as I could really use another respectable source of income. But, for whatever stupid reason, the powers that be in my general vicinity have long held that street musicians are lower on the totem pole than common beggars, who at least are not chased away when they beg every day at intersections and freeway entrance ramps.
    bratsche
    If the police are harassing street musicians performing on public property where you are located then they are in fact potentially violating the law. At least if you live in the us. There are resources online. You have more rights than you may know about.

    Thanks for the kind welcome!

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    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    Welcome to the café, Tortch. I occasionally wander into the city, maybe I'll be able to catch your music!
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    Registered User Jim Ferguson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    Awesome story Scott!!!!
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    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    My interest in guitars and mandos was stimulated by stumbling on a street musician in NYC playing a National Resophonic.... I had never seen or heard anything like that and was stunned by its sight and tone. I was surprised years later to see and hear him on this site playing resonater mando. I have wanted to play on the streets but a disability prevents it.
    Bart McNeil

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    Default Re: Meet Marc Orleans - Brooklyn based busking mandolin player

    Welcome Tortch. I look forward to hearing from you. Many years ago I played a little (very little) in Boston, at a few T stops, and a little in Dublin, Ireland. Just enough to have inordinate respect for those who do it more than somewhat.
    Indulge responsibly!

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