• Playing a single-stringed guitar, the Jamaican artist Brushy One String held court in the intimate Studio space at New York City's Webster Hall during globalFEST on Jan. 12, 2014.
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    Playing a single-stringed guitar, the Jamaican artist Brushy One String held court in the intimate Studio space at New York City's Webster Hall during globalFEST on Jan. 12, 2014.
    Ebru Yildiz for NPR
  • Brushy One String has become a viral sensation on YouTube, with more than four million views for his song "Chicken in the Corn."
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    Brushy One String has become a viral sensation on YouTube, with more than four million views for his song "Chicken in the Corn."
    Ebru Yildiz for NPR

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globalFEST

Brushy One String 2014

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A YouTube sensation whose song "Chicken in the Corn" has received more than four million views, Jamaica's Brushy One String has captured listeners' imaginations with his stripped-down style, as he uses his rich baritone to accompany a beat-up, single-stringed acoustic guitar.

Born Andrew Chin, Brushy has deep musical roots: His father was Jamaican soul singer Freddy McKay, while his mother, Beverly Foster, sang backup for Tina Turner. But he had a hard time finding professional success until he was featured, almost tangentially, in a documentary about young Jamaican artists by filmmaker Luciano Blotta. After Brushy captured Blotta's imagination, his song "Chicken in the Corn" made it into the film — and then catapulted to viral success.

Given his nickname, you might think that Brushy's instrument is the most interesting thing about his performances. You'd be wrong; it's the way that he shapes and bends his vocal lines that captures your attention, and it instantly charmed the audience. His New York debut, made at globalFEST, wasn't all smooth sailing, however; he snapped his one string not long into the set. But as he said from the stage while waiting for his crew to swap out his signature one-string for a six-stringed guitar: "Sometimes music comes in the saddest ways."

SET LIST:
  • "Chicken In The Corn"
  • "Grey In My Blue"
  • "They Are Going Down"
  • "Life Is For Every Man"
  • "Mr. D.C./Judgment Time"
  • "Destiny"
  • "Boom Bang Deng/Wash Wash"
  • "No Man Stop Me"
  • "Picture On The Wall"
  • "War & Crime"
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