Best hurdy-gurdy busker (2008)

Melissa the Loud

"Am I also being nominated for Worst Hurdy-Gurdy Busker?" Melissa the Loud wanted to know when she heard about her Voice nomination. A hurdy-gurdy, for those who skipped class the day medieval musical instruments were taught, is a wooden box with a crank and numerous keys (Melissa's has 23) that, when pressed, hit strings inside the box to make music. The sound is extraordinary, like a band of fiddlers and a bagpipe player all in one. Recently Melissa, 33, who has waist-length wavy brown hair, was playing in Columbus Circle for a small group of people; some of them even attempted a jig. "It's a party in a box," she said. Busking for six years, playing other archaic instruments such as the xaphoon and the cumbus, she has developed a sardonic sense of humor to cope with the hecklers and weirdos. A short, elderly woman approached. "Where's your monkey? You need a monkey," she said, laughing heartily. "And here you are," replied Melissa.


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