This week on Music Thursdays, I was contacted by someone on Twitter to watch a special video. Natalia Paruz, otherwise known as The Saw Lady, shared this video of her performing in a New York City subway station. If you are a geek or nerd, you should recognize this song!
The Saw Lady has spent over a decade bringing the rare art form of playing music on a carpenter’s saw (known as the Musical Saw or Singing Saw) to audiences around the world. She has performed with many orchestras such as the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Westchester Philharmonic Orchestra; Royal Air Moroccan Symphony Orchestra; Riverside Orchesra; Amor Artis Orchestra, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, and the Little Orchestra Society. She has performed at famed music halls like Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden. And she has appeared on multiple media sources such as MTV, VH1 and History Channel. Natalia has also received citations of honor from the New York City Council, the New York State Senate and a medal of honor from Paris, France.
Natalia’s goal is to not only preserve the rare art form of playing music on a saw, but to also try to push it forward through the invention of better playing technique, fine-tuning the instrument, educating composers about the possibilities of composing for musical saw, and bringing the instrument to public awareness. As for the last part, bringing the musical saw into public awareness, she does this not only through performances on the legitimate stage/TV/radio but also by bringing the music of the musical saw directly to people where people are – on the street. By performing in the subway, she brings the art form to people who might not otherwise be able to encounter it. Here is another subway performance titled Lame Sonore!
Natalia Paruz plays with a musical saw, which is a dying form of music! The Musical Saw was very popular in the beginning of the 20th century. The fact that a saw can “sing” was discovered both in Europe and in the U.S. at about the same time. The Musical Saw reached its heyday in Vaudeville, and died with it at around World War II. Apart from the disappearance of its main performance venue, additional reasons caused the disappearance of this art form: all steel was used for ammunition – therefore no saws were made for a while. Also, young men went to war, so there was no one to learn the Musical Saw from the older generation.
Today, Natalia Paruz is reviving this unique art form, and her goal is to give the musical saw its rightful place as a genuine musical instrument. She is by no means the first to believe in the musical saw as an orchestral instrument: Aram Khachaturian wrote a solo for a musical saw in his ‘Concerto for Piano & Orchestra’ and contemporary composer George Crumb included the musical saw in his ‘Ancient Voices of Children’. Natalia Paruz revives this lost tradition, playing a 28″ musical saw made of English steel. It has a range of two octaves and is considered a Tenor musical saw. She also plays a 30″ musical saw which is considered a Baritone musical saw because its range (also two octaves) is lower. Her favorite saw is a 32-1/2″ musical saw which has 3 octaves on it.
The music from Natalia Paruz was featured in the 2011 film “Another Earth.” The song ‘Another Earth’ written by Scott Munson featured the musical saw from Natalia Paruz. Take a listen below!
No doubt, I am really enjoying the music from The Saw Lady, Natalia Paruz! I did not know that this music existed before I was contacted on Twitter! You can listen to the music from Natalia Paruz and purchase songs and CD’s at: http://sawlady.com/ Here is a video from the YouTube channel StreetPerformersTV. Who knew that Natalia Paruz was a dancer?
Learn more about Natalia Paruz at: http://sawlady.com/. Follow her on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Natalia-Saw-Lady-Paruz-musical-saw-player/129253832734 and on Twitter @SawLady.
Follow her on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/friendsofmusic
- The Late Movies: Saw Song (mentalfloss.com)
- Music Thursdays: Alastair Moock’s Singing Our Way Through (geekalabama.com)
- Music Thursdays: Marian Call Music (geekalabama.com)
Categories: Music Talk Stuff