Monday, March 5, 2007

Drums, xylophone, bells: Sire the Purifier

Sire the Purifier playing the drums

The essence of street art - Sire the Purifier plays and a random passerby joins his beat with a rap

Interview with Sire the Purifier

How birds inspire music: A look at a hidden skill - storytelling.

A message from Sire the Purifier

Artist: Sire the Purifier
Medium: Drums, bells, xylophone, squeak toys, flutes
Location: 42nd Street Station in 123-ACE connector

“Never underestimate the power of love to conquer hate.” So speaks Sire the Purifier.

Sire gave himself his name when he started playing music. One day, when he was feeling low, Sire picked up a harmonica and began playing with it. “It changed my mood so wonderfully [I thought] wow, this is what music does to you.” To Sire, music is like medicine, it’s cleansing and uplifting; that’s why he calls himself the Purifier. Never one to play a sad song, Sire tries to keep all his work upbeat to rejuvenate himself and the people who listen to him.

Sire’s music is as eclectic as could be imagined. He plays with flutes, drums, bells, a xylophone and even sqeak toys and claims hip-hop, jazz and R&B as influences. However, he says he strives for a “universal sound.” To this end, Sire’s main influence is nature – especially birds. Sire is inspired by birds because they are naturally made to sing and he never takes their songs for granted. (See two of Sire’s folktale-ish stories about how nature has inspired him in video above to text at the end of this entry.)

Sire is originally from Brooklyn but his great-great-great-grandparents hail from Ghana. The colors he wears are Ghanaian.

Sire’s Story
Once upon a time Sire the Purifier was walking through his life. In this life he met many animals, but none more amazing than a little wild sparrow. Sparrows are a particular lot, they come out to eat and drink but at the sight of another animal they are quick to retreat. So you can imagine Sire the Purifier's surprise when, walking through a woodland, he encountered a sparrow that was not afraid of him. Well, Sire the Purifier knew just what to do - he put that fearless sparrow up on his shoulder and brought him down into the subway. Once in the subway Sire the Purifier took out his drums. "Bom" he went, "tweet" went the bird. "Bom-bom," "tweet tweet." And with that Sire the Purifier went into a musical frenzy. Arms flying, legs shaking, drums bomming, bells jostling - making noise to his heart's content. To Sire the Purifier's amazement, the little wild sparrow sung with his beats. The two makde music all day until the the sparrow took his leave and Sire the Purifier put his drums back on his cart to go home. From that moment on Sire the Purifier never took a bird's song for granted again. Don't believe me? Listen to him tell it himself in the video above.

Like what you see?
Unfortunately the only way to meet someone like Sire is to find him in the subway. If Sire does decide to release contact information you can bet it will be here first.


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