Violinist, 22, composes his own sound in Chicago's subway

Sunday, December 11, 2016 10:59PM
Maurice Javier "Mo Javi" Hubbard is a music maker in the Chicago subway.


CHICAGO - Above the noise of the Chicago's subway, CTA passengers can sometimes hear beautiful violin music. Most often on the Washington Blue Line platform.

Maurice Javier Hubbard is a music maker. His performing name is Mo Javi.

As a youngster he tried other instruments without satisfaction, but with the violin, his fingers danced.

"When I tested out the violin, the person that was helping me, she helped me play 'Twinkle, twinkle little star,' and at the time it was one of my favorite songs, so like, 'I'm sold'" said the 22-year-old.

Hubbard is largely self-taught. A natural who can play the music of classical giants but chooses to compose his own sound.

"Celtic and American folk music, I like to call the combination, or Nashland. It's a fictional place I created," Hubbard said. "It's a combination of Nashville and Ireland."

"Almost everyday people come up to me saying like, 'Is that an Irish tune I recognize? Is this old piece I know?' And I'm like, 'I don't know. I wrote it,'" Hubbard said.

Hubbard does play beyond the subway. He's got a show coming up at his dad's barbershop near West Roosevelt Road and South Western Avenue on the city's West Side.

A handy venue and dad's cool with it.

Hubbard plays with such passion that subway riders often choose to let a few trains pass while they enjoy the show.

"I have so many notes in my wallet from people who say, 'You've brightened up my day. You made my night. You played to my soul,'" he said.

And that's the reward for a young artist confident in big dreams that will take him far beyond the subway.

"You know I'm pretty confident because I'm already doing it. I'm here playing music freely ad people are enjoying it, and that's all I've ever wished for," Hubbard said.

So let the train pass. And listen.
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