Sunday, June 23, 2013

Ptown Groove Brings a Beat to the Street

The other day as a couple of musicians began creating a beat in front of Town Hall, a spontaneous performance broke out as people walking by stopped to join in, either by picking up an instrument, or singing, or moving with the rhythm, and pedestrians began dancing their way down the street. Roxanne Layton and Sylvie Richard have formed Ptown Goove, a percussion ensemble that's bringing a beat to the street. They will be found this summer creating a little rhythm along Commercial Street, and perhaps in a few other spots as well.
A man begins break-dancing as Cheryl Aruda (in white) sings, and
Roxanne Layton (seated on her drum) and Sylvie Richard create the rhythm.
When I mentioned that I wished I had a video camera with me, Roxanne handed me her cell phone and I began shooting a little video as she and Sylvie got a beat going with their two drums. And then a remarkable thing happened... Cheryl Aruda (bluesy vocalist extraordinaire from the Dirty Blonde band) was walking by, and broke out into a soulful rendition of Fever, the Peggy Lee hit from the 1950s. Then a young man stepped up and began breaking to the beat. Click to Watch Ptown Groove on Commercial Street, and the others who joined in with them in this serendipitous street performance. Ya gotta love a town like this!
Roxanne Layton, seated, plays her cajon
while Sylvie Richard plays her djembe.
Later, a woman walking down Commercial Street grabbed a pair of rhythm sticks from Roxanne's drum bag and began adding another layer of percussion to the mix. She was soon followed by local street performer Billy Striani (a wonderful singer and guitarist) who grabbed a pair of rainbow flags and began swirling and twirling them behind the drummers as they laid down the rhythm.
Another day, in the photo to the left, Roxanne is again seated on her cajon, a large box drum hailing from Peru, with wooden walls, each of different thicknesses, making different sounds when struck with the hands. Inside the drum, a snare (a series of long, wiry fingers, like those inside a snare drum) has been attached, so it vibrates against one side of the box when it is struck, creating another kind of sound.
Sylvie plays the djembe, a West African goblet drum capable of a wide variety of sounds. In the Bambara language, spoken in three West African countries, "djembe" translates to "gather together in peace" and defines the purpose of this drum.
Watch for Ptown Groove to appear in front of Town Hall and in spots around town as they perform on our streets, and if you're so inclined, join them in creating that groove, and a bit of marvelous entertainment on the streets of Provincetown.

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