Frederick Abrams

The Underground Cathedral

Metro Boulot Dodo

The title is a popular French catch phrase referring to the humdrum daily
grind of going to work, returning home, eating, going to sleep and starting the whole routine all over again. Sitting on a platform of the Paris Metro
one day was a delicate featured black man playing bongos with wooden
spoons and singing. While sometimes I would ask for permission to
photograph, record and/or videotape singers and musicians in the
underground, the spontaneity of such moments were often precious. I was at first standing at a fair distance recording with my DAT Walkman when
this man called to me to come over to him. As I apprehensively approached
him not knowing what to anticipate, he motioned with his finger to come closer and closer still, until we were staring directly into each other’s eyes, in complete silence. Then, breaking the spell he simply said, “Good!” At that
point I took photos of him and continued recording.

From the recording captured, he becomes the lyricist, vocalist and percussionist of an otherwise original musical score. He sings (in French): “Monday we work/Tuesday we
work/Wednesday we work/Thursday we work/Friday we work/Saturday we go shopping/Sunday we rest at home.”

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