It’s always a treat to watch a good open piano player in action. One very famous impromptu pianist goes by the name of Brendan Kavanagh, a London-based internet sensation. He visits various public piano locations to surprise everyone with his unbelievable talent. Like Terry Miller, another London-based pianist, he has a way of captivating the crowd. Often, this involves some good old boogie-woogie.
Kavanagh’s YouTube channel currently stands with more than a million subscribers. He has posted every single video of him playing open pianos while performing his trademark ‘Boogie-Woogie’. Aside from his playing skills, there’s something extraordinary about Kavanagh’s performances.
During most of his impromptus, he disguises himself as a different person: a construction worker, a driver, or even a pilot. This adds a sense of mystery and surprise to the audience as he begins to play those keys.
From classical piano playing to boogie-woogie…
In this video, Kavanagh (or Dr K) encounters a pair of young women from China. One of them has been playing a classical piece on the public piano. People have started to gather around because she’s really talented. Kavanagh, wearing a black hoodie and his usual dark sunglasses, approaches her and starts jamming with her on the piano. After their shared moment, he asks if she knows about boogie-woogie.
The girl shakes her head but is very eager to find out. Dr K then takes over the piano and begins playing.
He starts with a classical piece that the young woman is familiar with. Then he shifts the key to the jazzy tune of boogie-woogie.
The ladies are mesmerized. They weren’t expecting such a powerful sound! They connect to it instantly and start dancing along as he continues to play effortlessly. Their appreciation is clearly written all over their faces!
What’s boogie-woogie, you ask?
The origin of boogie-woogie goes back to the 1870s when African-American communities first developed it. However, was popularized only in the 1920s.
Boogie-woogie is a true bop that can make anyone tap their feet and burst into a dance, even if it’s their first time hearing it!
Having grown up listening to boogie-woogie, one YouTube viewer commented:
“My first memories of music are of boogie-woogie, love it! Loved watching and hearing my grandmother play it! Damn that feels good!”
Another viewer made a very accurate description of the genre by saying,
“Boogie Woogie is the candy that hits everybody’s sweet tooth.”
Music is truly a universal language. Take this video itself, for example. Despite the obvious language barrier here, these women can connect to Kavanagh through the piano. Their faces light up and stay that way throughout his performance. You can’t deny the magic of music. It has the ability to bring us all together.
Turning tricks with the piano!
Throughout the duration of Kavanagh’s performance, heads keep turning, and passersby keep stopping to watch him. They’re just as impressed and amazed as the ladies are. Some of them can’t help but film his spectacular little show. As Kavanagh reaches the end of his performance, he shifts back to a classic piece showing just how versatile he is with the piano.
He ends it by doing a glissando, and the audience erupts into cheers and applause.
This performance alone has been viewed more than 20 million times on Kavanagh’s YouTube channel. Dr K has kept the spirit of boogie-woogie alive by playing it on numerous occasions. These women are just two of the many listeners who have now been introduced to this type of music.
Play the video below to watch this impromptu pianist stun the crowd with his boogie-woogie piano playing skills!