Last month, 50 musicians competed for a spot to do their thing on New York City subway platforms in the Music Under New York contest. The winners were announced Thursday, and among them was kora player and singer-songwriter Balla Tounkara, who stopped by the Bryant Park Project studio Friday.
The BPP had its very own busker contest this week. Four artists were nominated from a pool of 50 buskers, and we put videos of their auditions up on the BPP blog. More than 6,000 votes came in, and Tounkara again was victorious.
The prize? It's as much for him as it is for listeners: Tounkara brought his rare instrument — which is kind of a cross between a harp and a lute — into the studio and played an original piece called "Nina."