Photo Essay

Jok, The One Man Travelin' Band (revised)

Jok, the one man travelin' band

The first thing that came to mind when I saw him, was the photo challenge in the JPG Magazine, about going up to a stranger, asking permission to take their picture, and then interviewing him. So, this is Jok's Story. His name is Jok Bombok, I discovered that he travels all over the world, doing just what I saw him doing, performing as a one man band. He said he performs at street fairs, farmer's markets, and just about anywhere. He really enjoys what he does and he really connects with everyone that happens to be strolling by. When we first arrived, we spotted Jok, but we just went in the marketplace to shop first. When we finished shopping and went outside, Jok was still there performing, even though it was rather cold that day! That was when I made the decision to approach him, ask to take his picture, and find out more about this very unusual person. After conversing with him for only a few minutes, he asked if I would watch all his "stuff", which included all of his musical instruments, his amplifier, sound mixer board, speakers, and a wicker basket full of money, while he went into the building to use the restroom, which surprised me since he didn't know me. After he returned, several minutes later, I seemed to develop a good rapport with him in the things that we talked about. I started taking pictures of him, the more I took, the more I became aware of how well he connected with his audience, with his eye contact and his body language. As time went by, Jok and I seemed to interact with each other and with the passers-by. I became aware of more and more people congregating behind me and they were getting more animated as time went on, expressing much appreciation of his music and singing, with clapping and cheering! Jok described to me, in between sets, how he made some of his "equipment". He made two small boxes with live microphones in each one, which are his "drums", so when he taps his feet on them, it sounds like he is playing a drum! He has a small crash cymbal, mounted on a stand (only a few inches tall), next to his "drums" to hit with his foot to make a cymbal crash sound! He plays a harmonica, that is attached to a holder, just below his mouth, a guitar, and sometimes he sings. He was playing a wide variety of music, including some Bob Dylan tunes. While I was taking pictures of Jok, he got a concerned look on his face (which I captured in one of my shots). It turned out that he spotted a friend riding his bicycle, with a tuba strapped to his back, approaching and he knew his friend performed at the same location on Sundays, but this was Saturday! As it turned out, he was just dropping by to visit and say hello. He gave a salute with his cap, right after he arrived, to give respect to Jok and his performance. Before we departed, we both shook hands with Jok, expressed our appreciation for his music, and promised to keep in touch with him. Jok and I exchanged e-mail addresses and he asked me to get some copies of the photos I took of him, because he wanted to have one made into a poster, to advertise his performances. So I promised that I would and we said our goodbyes again. This was a very rewarding experience and I'm glad that I accepted the JPG Magazine challenge to interview a stranger!

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