On the Victory Train: Balla Tounkara

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

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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?

MARTIN: Npr.org/bryantpark.

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 npr.org/bryantpark and twitter.com/bpp. 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, npr.org/bryantpark. I'm Rachel Martin.

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

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