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Funk

Majestic K Funk on the Staten Island Ferry

Majestic K Funk
Majestic "K" Funk on the Staten Island Ferry, April 2003

Click here for more pics, MKF on the SI Ferry
Click here for songs download.

About MKF and performing on the ferry in general.

There was a time when there was live music on the boat. I'm aware that the S.I. Ferry has a history and that many things came and passed over the years. I remember live performances on the Kennedy Class boats from 2000 until about 2004, when the DOT put a hold on it for unclear reasons. Some performers sometimes, I guess, were on the edge of being annoying. But none really sucked and you could go elsewhere if you didn't like it. Not like the preachers that plant themselves right in front you and tell you that you're fucking damned. No, generally it was great and I think that sadly, in regards to the design of the new ferries, the DOT did an absolutely ignorant, selfish and poor job in:

A) Not having any room designated for the potential performance of a group.
B) Giving the bar on the boat a feel of an overcrowded men's urinal.

After all, the boat is the only place in NYC you can have a drink in public, one of New York's biggest tourist attractions.
boatnewsmall How nice it was to have a beer on one of the older boats, standing around the roomy bar at the main deck's center, enjoying the view and maybe strolling towards the front and enjoying some good old classic soul funk. Or Majestic K Funk that is.

I recorded the band, I think only on one day in April 2003. They were weekend regulars and they were awesome. They brought, at times, the crowd to a boil, made people dance and laugh, (and yes, cry!) and they were even liked or at least supported by the DOT employees.


The only serious heckling I witnessed was from a group of Evangelists that tried to deliver their message at the rear, while MKF played in the bows of the boat. And when the majority of people did not pay attention the holy prophecies but convened in the front area, the Evangelists eventually joined in and loudly booed, can you imagine?! (Can we please reinstate careening?)
jamal MKF
Anyhow, I've decided to post 5 songs for download. At least until I make a CD, which I haven't done in the last 5 years and for which I would wanna contact the band, and I don't know where they are anyways. So I guess it doesn't legally or financially hurt anybody.

The music was recorded with a slightly damaged portable SONY DAT recorder and a slightly damaged stereo mic. It's actually more of an atmospheric recording. It can be safely said that the recording angle wasn't perfect, which has also to do with the band members' positioning on stage. The drums are usually too loud and the backing vocals too low.  

The setup was usually that the backing singers where behind the drums, while Mike and Buddy, the lead singers, would frequently change their position, sometimes wander around while singing and mingle with the commuters.

Personally, I like the recording as an acoustic time capture. The spacial effect of the boat comes out best when listening through headphones. You'll hear some groupies, sitting up front in the last row of seats towards the bow, demanding songs. Often they were these Meth patients, commuting to and fro the local Methadone clinic. They were loyal fans. You'll hear more interaction, Buddy thanking a guy that just gave tip. For a split second he slips out of his falsetto, on min 0.39 on "Tears all Tears". This is also the only song without Miguel on the bass. And only here Buddy uses an echoing effect, that actually does help balancing his sometimes sharp voice. His own reaction to the recording was from "this is awesome" in the beginning, to "I'm way too loud and completely out of tune, destroy it!" later. It must be exhausting to carry a falsetto for hours and hours. He sings how he does, always delivering and singing for the people. What I particularly remember during that very song was Buddy holding the mic for Jameel (drums) who stretched his neck and sang the bridge. It's the only time he sings lead on the recordings (min 1:54). It also has to be pointed out that all the drums you'll hear is a snare and a hihat. It's sometimes hard to trust your ears when you follow on how Jameel uses his hihat as ride and crash cymbal simultaneously and working the snare so that you have the impression of a complete drum set. Outstanding to me the drive he delivers on "Baby Peace of Mind" for the songs' ending riff, starting at min 1:50.

From what I know MKF still plays at some subway platform in Manhattan. I'm not sure where. I want to see them again.

There's more to say about the other band members but let me post this first and I'll write more at a later point.

Click here for MKF mp3 download.
Click here for more MKF pics


Last Update 2009-01-15 | Copyrightę Christoph Mayer 2009 print page: Funk | E-mail a friend about this site: Funk


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