25 Performers Win Coveted Spots in 'Music Under New York' Contest

By Paul DeBenedetto on May 31, 2012 12:24pm 

MANHATTAN — It's music to their ears.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has tapped 25 lucky musical groups to serenade commuters in coveted high-traffic subway stations

The musicians were chosen from among 64 groups that auditioned live May 16 at Grand Central Terminal. They were selected for the MTA's Music Under New York program by a panel of 33 musicians, performance artists and MTA officials.

Each act was given five minutes to perform, and was judged on quality, variety and appropriateness.

The winners of the 25th annual Music Under New York auditions have now earned the right to perform in high-volume stations like Union Square, Atlantic Avenue and Columbus Circle. 

The eclectic group of winners includes the bluegrass trio Chicken Barn Heroes, the all-female Mariachi Flor de Toloache and Karikatura, which describes itself as a "Latin, gypsy, ska, reggae fusion" band.

Also chosen were: Acapella Soul; Afrikumba Utibe Drummers; vocal/guitar duo Aria; singers Petula Beckles, Allan Chapman, Keith Dorgan, Melissa Elledge, Leah Laurenti, Matt Pless and Nadine Simmons; musicians R. M. Bridgewell (guitar), Jason Cordero (piano), Keith Dorgan (vibraphone), Holliewood Ft. Venor (hip-hop duo), Emily Hopkins (harp), Atsumi Ishibashi & Robin’s Egg Blue (guitars), Buster Marengo (piano), Jeff Masin (one man band), Charles Tighe (handpan) and Caesar Passée (steel drums); and Washington Square Winds.

Mariachi Flor de Toloache, an all-female mariachi band, was one of the winners of the MTA's Music Under New York auditions.
Mariachi Flor de Toloache, an all-female mariachi band, was one of the winners of the MTA's Music Under New York auditions.
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DNAinfo/Tuan Nguyen

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