StreetMusicMap, a crowdsourced global map of street music performance launched in 2014, recently rolled out a new podcast showcasing New York City’s cast of musical characters. Since the Brazilian journalist Daniel Bacchieri created the site in 2014, more than 700 collaborators have contributed video, recordings, and geographic details about buskers around the world. With the new podcast, StreetMusicMap Radio, the “global report on street music” digs a little deeper into the stories of individual artists, giving them a space to tell their own stories beyond what you hear in their songs.
Alice Tan Ridley stars in the first episode. She’s been singing American gospel and R&B in New York subway stations full-time since 1992, when, after 21 years in New York raising a family and teaching handicapped children in the public school system, she decided to change it up. The podcast intersperses recordings of her subway performances with her reflections on the role of singing in her life. Her voice rises from the background noise of trains and conversation. As the background noise melts away, a sample from her album kicks in with a strong drumbeat. It’s a song called “You’re Better Than That,” and she says it’s inspired by the saying that it takes a village to raise a child.