The American in his 50s typically parks his bicycle next to the concert hall, on the corner of Dong Khoi and Cao Ba Quat streets, at about 11 a.m.
Then, he gives his own impromptu concert, performing for motorbike taxi and rickshaw drivers, office workers on their lunch breaks, and hotel security guards. Many drivers stopping at the traffic light also turn to enjoy Jake’s music for a few seconds.
| “I love to play flute at this city corner and bring joy to everyone,” says Jake |
“I love to play flute at this city corner and bring joy to everyone,” Jake said, adding that “The flute sound is mixed into the urban noises made by vehicles, horns, the wind, and pigeons.”
Jake traded in his American band for several Vietnamese ones after he moved to this country six years ago. He also exchanged his silver flute for bamboo ones, which he plays from Hue to Nha Trang, and Singapore to Malaysia.
“Since I got to know the bamboo flute, I have realized this is a perfect instrument that can transmit the natural beauty of music,” he says. “On this street stage, I can play all kinds of flutes and introduce different music genres to everyone.”
One local has listened to Jake play so much that he knows his routine.
“He stands outside when it is sunny or under a hotel’s eaves when it rains,” says Nguyen Van Thang, a motorbike taxi driver. “It is great to hear melodies from his flute in the city.”
After performing and talking to locals in basic Vietnamese, Jake hops on his bicycle and heads home to District 3.
“I travel around Saigon and even went to Vung Tau on this bike,” Jake says. “I own a scooter but don’t like it at all. Riding bicycles is convenient and healthy -- plus it’s good for my flute breath control.”