Aboriginal Sounds On Vermont Streets | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Aboriginal Sounds On Vermont Streets

Play associated audio

Vermont: Land of maple syrup, ski slopes, covered bridges and snow-capped mountains. Few people would associate the Green Mountain State with the didgeridoo, a wind instrument native to Australia. Until they've heard Michael "Tree" Sampson, that is.

Sampson's a one-man band who performs daily on Church Street in downtown Burlington.

"I grew up in upstate New York and I've been trying to survive as being a street performer in New England for the last couple of seasons," Sampson says. "I play didgeridoo and el cajon — a box drum — have puppets on my feet and a tambourine on my foot and a shaker on my other foot.

"I use crafts and visual media along with rhythm to just break people out of their patterns — just shaking them up."

Sampson also performs in a homemade mask that, depending on who you ask, resembles a deer, an owl and other animals.

"The wooden mask was originally supposed to be a deer mask," he says. "The nose didn't work out and all of a sudden it's worked its way back into this kind of owl-human, just nature-spirit thing."

Sampson says he thinks of himself not only as a musician, but as a healer, too.

"You're kind of trying to be like a kind of magician," he says. "It brightens people's days and kids dance. Things with rhythm that make you dance, they're healing. They're good for the public."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

In 'Song Of Lahore,' A Race To Revive Pakistani Classical Music

In 1977, classical music virtually died in Pakistan when the government banned live concerts. Seven musicians are working to bring the art back, and a film premiering Saturday documents their quest.
NPR

How The Food Industry Relies On Scientists With Big Tobacco Ties

Critics of the system that ushers food products to market say it is rife with conflicts of interest. When scientists depend on food companies for work, they may be less likely to contest food safety.
NPR

On Links As In Life, D.C. Bipartisan Relations Are Deep In The Rough

Golf is a sport that's been enjoyed by both Democrats and Republicans through the decades, but bipartisan golf outings may be disappearing like a shanked tee shot into a water hazard.
NPR

What Does It Take To Feel Secure?

Computer security expert Bruce Schneier says there's a big difference between feeling secure and being secure. He explains why we worry about unlikely dangers while ignoring more probable risks.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.