North Carolina

I was in Chapel Hill, Carrborro, and Rocky Mount North Carolina for about 5 days.


I went to a mall near Durham, and found one of the more common, and utterly boring soundscapes of my culture. It saddened me and I left quickly.


Near the bell tower in Chapel Hill. You can hear the bells toll at about 8:15, and throughout, you can hear the Whistler I met. The whistling is worth the listen.


At the music festival in Carrborro I saw an accapella African-American quintet perform and their lead caller for this song was Harmonica Bob (from the duo of Almost-Blind James and Harmonica Bob). Can you pick him out?
Note: the man saying “yessir” at the end of the song had the lowest voice I have ever heard. It was cosmic.

In Rocky Mount I had a 10 hour layover and wandered around the small, rural town. I was warned against going to the other side of the railroad tracks, given the history of the town including floods, the rise and fall of the mills and factories, heard the first casually spoken racism since coming to the USA, and came to the conclusion with a local the Canadian fishing is where its at. The track below is of a freight train passing. It takes a long time to pass. One connection Murray Schaefer makes is between the jazz swing rhythm and the lilting clickclacking of the wheels moving over the rails- a sound that would have been pervasive in many of the cities where jazz evolved.

In Rocky Mount I listened to an upholsterer work quietly with doth, scissors, and a 50 year old sewing machine.

At a music festival in Carrborro, I found a very loud cricket/grasshopper(?) chipping to be heard above the rock band playing across the street filled with traffic.


A bell in Carrborro is rung by a passerby. It’s obviously a bell from times gone by, but what is it’s function? It was tucked in beside a building, with no marker, no special prominance. But the ringer was still there, and a passerby helped me sound it. I put the recorder up inside it as the ringing faded, and listened to the rain dropping on the old, rusting metal.

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