A Honky-Tonk Duo Takes The Piano Outdoors | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

A Honky-Tonk Duo Takes The Piano Outdoors

Play associated audio

Weekend Edition continues its series on the sounds of music al fresco with a musical act founded on a very inconvenient choice. You'd think a street musician would want to travel light when selecting an instrument — say, a ukulele, a violin, maybe a guitar. But a piano?

"It's about 300 pounds," says Kirby Lee Hammel. "Only one pulled muscle in the last year and a half, I think."

Hammel is one half of Clangin' & Bangin', a dynamic and muscular duo that works the streets of San Francisco and the Bay Area. Hammel's counterpart in the band is drummer Jake Alexander.

"It kind of started as a joke in a way, dragging out a huge piano, and I think the first time we did it we made, like $200 in two hours," Alexander says. "We thought, 'Man, we should keep doing this.' We got a lot of pity tips."

"You've got to have a real piano; it just gets that authentic sound," Hammel says. "We want it to ring out, so we take all the top off, we take the bottom front board off, and we also put it up on a 2-by-4 so it kind of bounces off that concrete below us." He adds, "It actually helps us get gigs because we don't need any amps."

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

NPR

'Night At The Fiestas' Spins Stories Of Faith And Family

Kirstin Valdez Quade's debut book of short fiction is inspired by her family and its long history in the "romanticized" region of northern New Mexico.
NPR

Not Just Sugary-Sweet, Hard Cider Makes A Comeback

Cider is the fastest-growing alcoholic beverage in the United States. Much of that growth is driven by big industrial producers, but smaller cider-makers are looking for a larger bite of the apple.
NPR

Nigerian President Faces Tough Reelection Campaign

Nigerians head to the polls Saturday to vote for their new president. The incumbent Goodluck Jonathan faces former military leader, Muhammadu Buhari, who says he's tough on security and corruption.
NPR

App That Aims To Make Books 'Squeaky Clean' Draws Ire From Edited Writers

Clean Reader — an app designed to find, block and replace profanity in books — has drawn considerable criticism from authors. This week, makers of the app announced they would no longer sell e-books.

Leave a Comment

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