Monday, December 12

the knife man

Amolador is the Portuguese word for grinder, or knife sharpener. These skilled knife sharpeners push their bikes through the streets, playing a distinctive tune on pan flutes to signal their presence.

Their bikes serve as a mobile workshop, with a sharpening stone mounted on the top tube, a tool box strapped to the back, and umbrellas draped over the handlebars.

Apparently there used to be many amoladors, but with the advent of cheap knives and scissors it's a dying profession which is too bad because it's pretty cool.

I found a Popular portuguese saying, "quando há amolador, há chuva": when the knife sharpener is around, it's going to rain.
-words and video by mattquann


randall said...

A few things...

1. That is awesome.
2. I wonder if the tune that he is playing is some interpretation of the noise the whetstone makes while he's sharpening the knife.
3. If you're ever digging around the online archives in the Library of Congress, somewhere in the depths (I think) are a bunch of songs that fish vendors, and the like, used to sing around town selling fish in the early part of the last century.
4. I wonder if we've lost something as a society where things like that that used to be commonplace are now regarded as anomalies.

james at 10engines said...

@randall fishmonger songs... off to look now.

Ramalhoni said...

This is so true! Every time they whistle it rains! It's amazing.. I can vauch for this I'm Portuguese!.