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she's got her own thing
January 6, 2011 1:53 AM   Subscribe

An elderly woman, not famous, just someone on the street in Belarus, playing her own unique brand of blues. With a light bulb.
posted by flapjax at midnite (39 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Man, Jimmy Page has really let himself go.
posted by bwg at 1:54 AM on January 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Man, Jimmy Page has really let himself go.

Indeed. But he was young once...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:01 AM on January 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


If only she had a compact fluorescent she could chord.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:03 AM on January 6, 2011


If only she had a compact fluorescent she could chord.

Nonetheless, she's getting a pretty bright sound.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:05 AM on January 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is this what they mean by "electric guitar" in Belarus?
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:07 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Imagine what she'll do when CFLs become standard.

Another great post: thanks, flapjax.
posted by converge at 2:11 AM on January 6, 2011


Socket to me.

That pun took third in the 2007 Belarusian guitar-related light-bulb pun competition, so there. And thanks, flapjax.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:14 AM on January 6, 2011


Oh come on, this is Belarus Old Lady Lightbulb Blue(s)!

(Seriously, it just goes to show that when you've got the blues, you've got 'em.)
posted by chavenet at 2:19 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


he was young once...

You're just learning to play the guitar. Do you play anything except skittle?
Jimmy Page: Yes.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:22 AM on January 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cool post flapjax. Even if she's not technically playing a blues beat, she's got the whole blues thing down pat. From the way she is intently staring at the fretboard it seems she's really into what she's playing. That's the way to do it.

Nice to see someone drop some cash into the box too. To my way of thinking, pretty much anyone who wants to sit out on the street and busk deserves a little coin for the effort.
posted by three blind mice at 2:23 AM on January 6, 2011


To my way of thinking, pretty much anyone who wants to sit out on the street and busk deserves a little coin for the effort.

I tend to mentally divide buskers into 'street musicians' and 'beggars with instruments'. Not that I'll give to one group and withhold from the other - I give anyway depending on mood and whether I have anything on me.

That skinny bearded dude sitting with his little scruff-dog and playing some neutered, lifeless folky tune - beggar with guitar. Here's some money, take care of that little dog: he loves you more than you could understand.

The Catalonian group playing loud in the market - you guys are good, but you're not what I need this morning. You scare me and I'm going to run away someplace quiet now.

Middle-aged Asian guy playing his violin down by the river in the artificial cavern made by the overhang of the music hall - your music fills this place. I can hardly find you, you keep walking back and forth through the columns, making me chase the sound. Does anyone even come down here? How do you live? Nobody will ever put this on Youtube - it's too dark down here. You've created something that will live forever inside me. Here's everything I have.
posted by Ritchie at 3:16 AM on January 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


She is playing this tune:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4TyjNiQLLw

(russian version)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Rx2gebSAPU

(finnish version)
posted by hoskala at 3:31 AM on January 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


That ain't really blues, sounds rather Euro-folk but the slide guitar cue says "blues" to western listeners, I guess. On preview, hoskala has it.
posted by telstar at 3:36 AM on January 6, 2011


That ain't really blues

No. It's her own unique brand of blues.

that is what I said, right?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:39 AM on January 6, 2011


hoskala, that's fantastic! Did you know and recognize the tune? Is it a pretty famous and well known number in Russia?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:49 AM on January 6, 2011


Jimmy Page OBE, please.

That video is amazing. I wonder what that kid would have said if someone told him on that day that in 2011 he would be an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, and for playing skiffle!
posted by chavenet at 3:54 AM on January 6, 2011


The Georg Ots version (Estonian singer, famous also in Finland) is sort of "My Way" of Finland. It's a very well known tune also in Russia. The name of the tune roughly translates "I love you, life".
posted by hoskala at 4:05 AM on January 6, 2011


Thanks, hoskala!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:10 AM on January 6, 2011


OK, I'll say it. That sounded awful.
posted by punkfloyd at 4:21 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


You always find the funnest stuff flapjax! Awesome use of a lightbulb.

I don't think it was blues she was playing but a folk or an old pop song.
posted by nickyskye at 5:55 AM on January 6, 2011


That sounded awful.

Well of course. She's totally punk. Floyd.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:04 AM on January 6, 2011


I don't think it was blues she was playing but a folk or an old pop song.

nickyskye, see hoskala's comment above!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:05 AM on January 6, 2011


Would be great if every time she finished a song she would put the light bulb over her head and somehow make it light up as if she just had an idea for a new song to play. Yeah, I know it would always be the same song but it would still be a neat gimmick.
posted by any major dude at 6:22 AM on January 6, 2011


any major dude: or failing that, Uncle Fester's trick would suffice, no?
posted by .kobayashi. at 6:47 AM on January 6, 2011


Wasn't that tune on the soundtrack of Tetris?
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 6:53 AM on January 6, 2011


My only disappointment was that I thought she was actually going to play the lightbulb.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:06 AM on January 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is actually quite sad. By Ritchie's typology, this definitely qualifies as a "beggar with an instrument." Belarus and other former Soviet republics have a big problem with poverty among the elderly. There's also little in the way of a busking tradition β€” perhaps more now, as a west-European import.

That this woman chose such an unlikely activity and plays that maudlin song so badly, with a freaking light bulb, is a sign of desperation. That's a look of stupor on her face, not concentration. I wouldn't be surprised if she sat there from morning till night playing the same motif over and over and over.
posted by Nomyte at 7:14 AM on January 6, 2011


That this woman chose such an unlikely activity and plays that maudlin song so badly, with a freaking light bulb, is a sign of desperation. That's a look of stupor on her face, not concentration. I wouldn't be surprised if she sat there from morning till night playing the same motif over and over and over.

Well, now we know which account Werner Herzog has.
posted by jimmythefish at 7:22 AM on January 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's not korobeiniki (a.k.a. That Damn Tetris Song), but I also did think it sounded a little similar in places. Which, I mean, it looks like it comes out of the same tradition, so that's not surprising.

And this is, yeah, not really brilliant guitar playing, but I love it anyway. There's something about bad slide guitar in particular β€” the way it just totally destroys and rebuilds the harmonic structure of the tune β€” that can make any old melody sound really wonderfully alien. I guess it's just a question of whether or not alien is what floats your boat.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:28 AM on January 6, 2011


Watt the f?
posted by bonefish at 9:03 AM on January 6, 2011


Whatever your stance or opinion about buskers, I hope whoever filmed her at least gave her some rubles. I've had so many jerks take pictures or videos of me and not give me a dime, it's incredibly demoralizing.
posted by mingo_clambake at 9:46 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


No. It's her own unique brand of blues.

actually, it sounds more like a russian folk song played slack-key slide style - she ain't got the blues, she's got aloha
posted by pyramid termite at 10:20 AM on January 6, 2011


Clearly, OP knows nothing about music, ha.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:47 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blues: This word; I do not think it means what you think it means.
posted by humboldt32 at 11:12 AM on January 6, 2011


It's Babushka Blues, very big in Belarus.
posted by pianomover at 11:28 AM on January 6, 2011


She just has to be called Pena.

Victor Hayden: "Fast and bulbous"
Don Van Vleit: "That's right, The Mascara Snake, fast and bulbous."
VH: "Bulbous also tapered"
DVV: "Yeah, but you gotta wait until I say, 'Also, a tinned teardrop' "
VH: (laughing) "Huh. . . christ"
Frank Zappa: "Again, beginning"
VH: "Fast and bulbous"
DVV: "That's right, The Mascara Snake, fast and bulbous. Also a tinned teardrop."
VH: "Bulbous also tapered"
DVV: "That's right"
posted by MajorDundee at 12:48 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Illuminating.
posted by gallus at 12:59 PM on January 6, 2011


she's got aloha

i never kiss and tell.
posted by the aloha at 2:24 PM on January 6, 2011


That gives me an idea for earning a living when I reach retirement age. I think I'll have to keep working until I am no longer able given that our protectors in government may have to cut back on or eliminate social security. Certainly, one can not cut back, instead, in a serious way on the defense budget or the budgets of the intelligence agencies, however bloated these budgets may seem to be.
posted by millardsarpy at 4:23 PM on January 6, 2011


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