Street performer Eli takes it inside

Syracuse's notorious street performer Elijah Harris Jr., known simply as Eli, performed at Funk 'n Waffles on Monday evening, May 5. He decided to do a concert to thank all the Syracuse University students who supported his work throughout the school year. His timing was slightly off, as only a few students showed up. Perhaps he hadn't considered it was finals week? Meaning there might have been more noses than usual in the books.

During his first song, one of his guitar strings suddenly broke, leaving the other five to finish up. The few supporters and broken string raised some doubts as to whether a street performer and an indoor stage would be a good combination. But Eli's overall performance affirmed him as a pro inside and out.

Funk 'n Waffles provided a space where Eli's music could truly be heard. He performed country, blues and three original songs, including "Candy Like Girl," and "Beautiful," dedicated to his wife, who passed away in 2002.

Accompanied by his entertaining steps, the songs, which had been with him through the years, marched into the audience's heart. Ethan Green, one of the supporters, said after the show that Eli was a gifted guitar player, and he enjoyed the show very much.

Beside his songs, Eli's words were heard and shared. He said the world needs some changes, and because this couldn't be accomplished in one day, he needed to spread the words by doing what he loved to do--singing songs and playing his guitar.

When Eli was asked what was the difference between performing in the street and on stage at Funk 'n Waffles, he said, "When I perform in the streets, people just put the tip in my guitar case, and go away. But I want to put music into more people. I want to reach out to more people. That's the good thing about performing indoors."

Indeed, it was a good time with Eli, his words, and his music at Funk 'n Waffles on Monday night. Although, when Eli next meets Funk 'n Waffles, it would be a good idea to do it anytime other than finals week, so that more people can listen to his words and his music.

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