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On the Victory Train: Balla Tounkara

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On the Victory Train: Balla Tounkara

Digital Life

On the Victory Train: Balla Tounkara

On the Victory Train: Balla Tounkara

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

What's clicking on the Bryant Park Project blog, including news that musician Balla Tounkara has won our subway busker poll.


And that music can only mean one thing...


What is it?

PESCA: Blog. It's Monday, let's see what's going on with the Bryant Park Project blog, www...?

LAURA CONAWAY: Want me to help you with that, Mike?


PESCA: Our web editor, Laura Conaway is here.

CONAWAY: Yeah, you guys are doing great with that URL.

MARTIN: Thanks.

CONAWAY: One day I couldn't say it in here.

MARTIN: We're new to the World Wide Web. H-T-T-P.

PESCA: I just wanted to sing the "w" part.

CONAWAY: Sorry, you guys. Look, we have a winner in our subway busker poll. It's...

MARTIN: We have a winner?

CONAWAY: We have a winner, it's Balla Tounkara. He's a cora player from Mali.

MARTIN: I liked Balla.

CONAWAY: Did you vote?


PESCA: That would be wrong, that would be improper, I think.

CONAWAY: I voted - look, I voted my one time.

PESCA: I'm not going to count dispersions, but you're tainted.

MARTIN: How many people voted again?

CONAWAY: I told you for who I voted, full disclosure. Well, we had 6,141 ballots cast.

MARTIN: Wow, good job, BPP universe!

CONAWAY: It was amazing for me, because when we left for the weekend it was somewhere in the low hundreds.

MARTIN: Democracy, alive and well here at the Bryant Park Project.

CONAWAY: I think what happened was the second-place finisher, the Baby Soda Jazz Band, this sort of Dixieland group, got together, and I think maybe they had a little get-out-the-vote campaign. I think.

PESCA: But still not enough to overtake the cora player. Let's hear a little of Balla Tounkara. My blood pressure just falls every note he plays.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. BALLA TOUNKARA (Winner, Subway Busker Contest): (Singing)

CONAWAY: Yeah, I voted for the cello player that sounded like her hair was on fire. But the BPP crowd wants this one.

MARTIN: I like it.

CONAWAY: I think it's good. I think it's good. We're going to see if we can have him come in and play for us a little bit.

PESCA: What he's too busy playing the F line?

CONAWAY: You know...

MARTIN: What else is going on?

CONAWAY: I opened a thread on that gay therapy and religion segment with Dr. David Scasta. It's there, it's such a complicated issue I really - I usually try to make the open-thread text pretty short so that leaves a lot of room for comments.

MARTIN: That's tough, huh?

CONAWAY: I really couldn't get out of that thing less than three or four graphs. Good luck.

MARTIN: I know. Yeah, but I'd be interested to hear what people think about.

CONAWAY: Yeah, they'll tell us. I'm thinking about opening one on that potty rights segment. You guys think that's a good idea or not?

MARTIN: Yeah, I'm into the subject.

PESCA: Well, who's the anti?

CONAWAY: Well, that's the question. I guess we'd find out.

PESCA: Yeah.

CONAWAY: And then I could ask a cheesy question, like, how long have you ever waited?

PESCA: Oh, yeah, that would be good.

MARTIN: I'm going to vent on that took.

PESCA: Or horror stories.


PESCA: Horror stories. People will definitely post on that.

CONAWAY: Do we want that?

MARTIN: I want that.

PESCA: It's a blog, just do it...

MARTIN: Just put it up.

PESCA: It's all about openness.

CONAWAY: That's what I do - openness.

PESCA: Laura Conaway edits our blog, our website. She does it openly. And you can find - she discloses when she votes. It's all open. And you can find us online at and Thanks, Laura.

CONAWAY: Thank you.

MARTIN: And you know what? That does it for this hour, yet another hour from the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. Join us again. We're online all the time, I'm Rachel Martin.

PESCA: And I'm Mike Pesca. This is the Bryant Park Project from NPR News.

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