If I say “bachata, baseball, and rum,” it probably won’t take you too long to start thinking about Dominicans, but if I say “electric violin” what comes to mind? Most of us would probably just scratch our heads in confusion at the very idea of an electric violin, but for many New York straphangers the instrument is inseparable from an energetic, charismatic subterranean virtuoso named Lorenzo, and he happens to be Dominican.
Following up on their successful profile of female mariachi conjunto, Flor de Toloache, The Atlantic’s series of short docs exploring music in the New York subways, “Rhythm in Motion,” has dedicated four and a half glorious minutes to a local legend by the name of Lorenzo Laroc. As director Jenny Schweitzer’s camera follows the musician through his daily routine navigating his NYCHA apartment complex, fancy art shindigs, quality time with his daughters, and of course, his perennial underground hustle, Lorenzo dishes out serving after serving of wisdom in the form of dense, powerful soundbites.
Reflecting on themes as diverse as elusive fame, parenting, and the meaning of life, Lorenzo proves to be as compelling with his words as he is working up a sweat as he wails on his violin in one of Manhattan’s busy subway complexes. And while he admits that his shot at fame may be dwindling as he heads into his mid-50s, Lorenzo can certainly be proud that The Atlantic has immortalized both his music and his struggle in this little audiovisual gem. Check it out by hitting play on the video above.