The lost art of the one-man band

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Too often modes of performance are shunned as novelty.

The one-man band has suffered an unfortunate downfall of value, cultivating a reputation limited to street performer, the musician garbed in a cartoonish ensemble of horns, noisemakers, harmonicas, and percussion strapped about at every conceivable angle.

Its art seems discarded to the side in favor of misleading the concept to its logical conclusion, the walking clamber, the Frankenstein patchwork of maximum equipment, and all the bells and whistles with cymbals between the knees, delivering an unbalanced proportion of instrumentation that renounces any perception of talent and bastardizes the tune.

Of course, technology offers a dynamic perspective to old terrain.

Super Mario Bros.

The Godfather Theme

Instead of relegating the one-man band to an outrageous feat of wacky aptitude, often the presentation confounds predictable classifications and the performance seems a genuine addition to the songwriting.

Sin Fang Bous - Catch the Light

Ty Segall

And although not technically a one-man band, Rahasaan Roland Kirk’s phenomenal dexterity certainly deserves sole recognition for the following maddening musical display.

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