Paul Harvey may look like your typical construction worker, but one video he uploaded to YouTube in May 2018 at a work site has changed that significantly. Reaching almost 15,000 views, igniting many threads on popular online community Reddit, and triggering the start of a YouTube channel that now has 1.3K subscribers, Paul is known for a different reason altogether.
In the video, he stands on an empty floor of a 40-story building in Minneapolis wearing his work clothes and hard hat. In his hands he holds a double Native American flute. Surrounded by gray concrete, Paul begins to play.
He opens with just a few notes, the last he holds for a few seconds before letting it fall. As it falls, it is carried by the echoes of the building around him, creating a beautiful and haunting sound. It becomes apparent exactly why Paul has chosen such a place to play his instrument during a break on the work site.
The piece is titled ‘Concrete Peace,’ and Harvey said he chose it when he realized his work site had amazing acoustics that would complement the instrument perfectly. Replying to comments within a Reddit thread, he explained how he came about playing the instrument: “Just picked it up in a shop at the Grand Canyon and started to play. Bout 5 years ago. A very emotive instrument. I played Tapps and was hooked.”
The Native American flute is a woodwind instrument traditionally made from wood. The double Native American flute that Harvey plays in the video features a second ‘drone’ element that plays a fixed note, creating a harmony to his tune. “It is a very emotive instrument set in Plutonic scale,” said Harvey to commenters.
In the three and a half minute video, Harvey is captivating. With a melody he said he was “just playing what [came] to me,” he creates an ethereal and mesmerizing atmosphere.
Incredibly, Harvey is completely self-taught: “I picked up a similar flute about 7 years ago at a tourist store in South Dakota and started playing. I definitely connected with it almost immediately. Never had a music lesson nor can I read music. Yet. I want to learn.”
The ironworker now has a popular YouTube channel called Paul Harvey Flute guy, with over 1000 subscribers. He carries an instrument – like a Native American flute, an Irish flute, or American flute – wherever he goes, as he often finds venues perfect for the sound of his flutes, like long tunnels, empty barns, and vast churches.
He already has quite a following from his posts on Reddit as well as videos featured on his YouTube channel and Facebook account ‘Paul Harvey flute guy.’ A commentor on Reddit summed up the feeling of the video:
“It’s even more incredible when played inside the building – an unforgettable sound. What an awesome idea and execution on your part. This is the kind of ingenuity that makes great original music.”
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