Gaffer

"I don't have many songs that are younger than 100 years old. And very few are in English."

There's always something happening on Pearl in Boulder. I've heard this man's powerful voice and plucking of the harp once before but was unable to stop and enjoy it. Tonight I had the chance to talk to him for a few minutes – more importantly, I had the chance to listen to him while he wrapped up his evening. His name is Gaffer and he's been performing in Boulder since 2000. Very few musicians I've met seem to care as little as he does about the amount of money he makes on his music. It is so visible on his face while he plays that the satisfaction he gets from the music itself is much more valuable. He told me that he's had downloads of his songs available online for ten years and has made a total of $30 from it, though he did repeat that financial earnings aren't the point. He also made the case that the generosity of this city has shifted noticeably since he started in Boulder almost 15 years ago (today, people more readily give to those with cardboard signs than to individuals trying to share their art and enrich the community). The manner in which he said this made me think he wasn't hurt by this personally, but on a more humanistic level. 

He finished his set with an English song, one made famous in the '60s by Louis Armstrong – What a Wonderful World. And it was obvious he meant every word.

 Gaffer took a moment with eyes closed and sat with his harp after he finished a song.

Gaffer took a moment with eyes closed and sat with his harp after he finished a song.