Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2]


Street Musicians, Buskers?

Related threads:
Help: Busking in Public - Scottish Law (44)
amplified buskers (85)
Busking permits (in various locations) (87)
amp combo things for busking - advice? (45)
Buskers equipment confiscated. (49)
'Busking' for money? (78)
advice - amp for busking (60)
Is this acceptable when busking? (42)
Busking - What are you paid? (23)
Pan Pipe Buskers (67)
Any tips for a newbie street busker?? (77)
Busking is begging? (188)
busking (49)
Busking (31)
Busking in Denmark (16)
A Busker's Tale (70)
Busking etiquette (64)
Buskers, minstrels, & streetmusicians? (17)
Non-monetary tips given to buskers (80)
Why busking rules (22)
Busking and Humility (33)
National Busking Day (20)
Advice about busking tours? (10)
Beverley Busker's competition - £1000 in prizes! (82)
Vanishing Occupations.Street entertainers (70)
News: Busker Permits in Tokyo (1)
Busking From Oregon to Michigan (21)
Busker comming in from the cold (1)
Buskers Benevolent Association Int. (17)
About bloody time...busking legalised (2)


28 Jan 98 - 11:21 PM
Alice 29 Jan 98 - 01:57 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 29 Jan 98 - 08:04 PM
BK 29 Jan 98 - 08:25 PM
GaryD 30 Jan 98 - 09:39 AM
Alice 30 Jan 98 - 10:18 AM
Bob Landry 30 Jan 98 - 11:37 AM
Jon W. 30 Jan 98 - 12:52 PM
Bill D 30 Jan 98 - 02:59 PM
GaryD 31 Jan 98 - 11:22 PM
Charlie Baum 01 Feb 98 - 12:06 AM
Barry 01 Feb 98 - 12:39 AM
Ricky Rackin 01 Feb 98 - 01:57 AM
hanrahan 01 Feb 98 - 05:11 AM
Bruce O. 01 Feb 98 - 01:15 PM
GaryD 01 Feb 98 - 02:05 PM
Jack mostly folk 01 Feb 98 - 03:36 PM
Jack Hickman 01 Feb 98 - 11:44 PM
Charlie Baum 02 Feb 98 - 12:40 AM
DrWord 02 Feb 98 - 01:39 PM
GaryD 03 Feb 98 - 10:32 PM
Jerry Friedman 04 Feb 98 - 05:58 PM
05 Feb 98 - 12:02 AM
Timothy Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 05 Feb 98 - 12:05 AM
Jon W. 05 Feb 98 - 10:27 AM
wolfgang.janz@notes.basf-ag.de 05 Feb 98 - 10:53 AM
Dani 05 Feb 98 - 11:24 AM
Timothy Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 05 Feb 98 - 10:18 PM
Tom Henehan 05 Feb 98 - 11:46 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 06 Feb 98 - 05:55 PM
Christa 13 Feb 98 - 04:10 PM
Jon W. 13 Feb 98 - 05:31 PM
Alex 14 Feb 98 - 01:31 AM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 14 Feb 98 - 12:51 PM
Alex 16 Feb 98 - 10:59 PM
Jerry Friedman 19 Feb 98 - 01:03 PM
GaryD 22 Feb 98 - 07:51 PM
Alex 24 Feb 98 - 01:18 AM
dwditty 24 Feb 98 - 06:42 AM
24 Feb 99 - 09:16 PM
Teresa 24 Feb 99 - 10:32 PM
jets 24 Feb 99 - 10:35 PM
GaryD 24 Feb 99 - 10:57 PM
alison 24 Feb 99 - 11:27 PM
Reggie Miles 24 Feb 99 - 11:54 PM
Jack Hickman - Kingston, ON 25 Feb 99 - 12:16 AM
Rick Fielding 25 Feb 99 - 01:40 AM
Willie-O 25 Feb 99 - 12:01 PM
Bert 25 Feb 99 - 01:14 PM
Penny 25 Feb 99 - 06:17 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From:
Date: 28 Jan 98 - 11:21 PM

I suggest we talk about street musicians, laws, lifestles, and personal experiences. I love people who entertain in this manner.. One of my favorite experiences was while visting Chicago, I rode the subway systems from beginning to end & chatted with a number of musicians who perform down there.. Most had the idea that they loved it down there!.. They said with the huge transient population, money was no problem, people would board, and another batch would stop. Being down below, they are also protected from the weather... try playing outdoors in the winter in MN! Also they can work whenever they feel like it, no time clocks for them! (I'm sure they didn't tell me the down side like muggings, & people fighting for select sites, etc).. How about it? Any takers?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Alice
Date: 29 Jan 98 - 01:57 PM

The first that comes to my mind is an old man playing a saw with a violin bow, sitting on a step along the street in Mexico City. It was near the church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and many pilgrims and tourists walked through the area. A few weeks earlier, I remember being near Tikal in Guatemala, sitting in a little food establishment in the jungle, listening to a man play a traditional marimba. In both cases, the men were completely absorbed in what they were doing, and seemed to not take notice that anyone else was around them. Alice in Montana


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 29 Jan 98 - 08:04 PM

How I long for talented musical buskers. Our local variety, when they appear, seem to know nothing but Stairway to Heaven and Peace Train. They also don't play anything but guitars. In cities with good buskers you get people playing unexpected instruments, like harps. And I haven't seen a hurdy-gurdy in years.

We do have an annual busker festival, but (1) few of them play musical instruments, and (2) there is something about a planned busker festival that doesn't seem right.

This might be a good time for me to ask a question and still be somewhat on topic. Does anyone know of any band in North America, busker or otherwise, that plays Whoville instruments -- ie giant horns on wheels, enormous bass drums. etc.? I can't plan too early for this year's parade and I have many things in mind.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: BK
Date: 29 Jan 98 - 08:25 PM

What pops up for me is the London subways; and the musicians telling me that the police were really hassling them; seems the powers that be (at that time, I'd hope they changed later?) decided musicians impeded the flow of subway entrance and exit traffic. Later we got to Dublin, where we heard some great street music, and the street performers there told me more or less the same thing, without the excuse about blocking subway traffic...

What kind of celts are those Dublin city leaders, anyhow? Closet/wanna-be Upper Class Englishmen?

Seriously, most of the English regular folk we met were really super, despite their storied "reserve." Of course it didn't hurt to be driving a 25 year old Rover sedan with English tags, and when the guitar case came out, it was almost always a sincere and friendly, "give us a song." But, of course, these were the real people....

Cheers, BK


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: GaryD
Date: 30 Jan 98 - 09:39 AM

Great inputs! Guess the following comes to my mind as my latest experience with a street musician. We were vacationing in Winnipeg last summer when I saw a young? "about 20" bagpiper on the corner really letting it rip! He played those old traditional tunes like a champion, as well as new ones.. I'm sure his grandpa would be proud of him, except for the outfit he was wearing.. He had the kilt, but other than that was dressed like a punk rocker, complete with rings in his nose & lip & died spiked hair!... I loved it! Talk about cross cultural diversity!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Alice
Date: 30 Jan 98 - 10:18 AM

This thread reminds me of the Joni Mitchell song, "He Played Real Good For Free". "...the one man band by the quick lunch stand, he was playin' real good for free. Nobody stopped to hear him, though he played so sweet and high, They knew he had never been on T.V., so they passed his music by."... alice in mt.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Bob Landry
Date: 30 Jan 98 - 11:37 AM

Every year, during the K-Days Exhibition in Edmonton, I work a shift selling Dream Home tickets for my Lions' club. In July/96, after finishing my shift at 11:pm, I walked into to subway station and encountered a Cape Breton-style fiddler accompanied by a banjo player. They had a spare guitar on the ground and I got permission to use it and join them. Cape Breton rhythms are in my blood and pretty soon we had people dancing down the hall on their way to the train. They threw fistfuls of coins into the open guitar case. We played until the last train had left and the security guards had to lock up. What a fun time! I have no idea how much money they made but I sure had fun and I'd do it again at the drop of a pick.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Jon W.
Date: 30 Jan 98 - 12:52 PM

Tim, in answer to your Whoville question: I saw a little bit of a documentary on a couple who provided the music to Dr. Seuss cartoons, and that they had made several of the instruments they used. This was probably on PBS, just a week or so ago. Maybe you can track it down. (PBS is the Public Broadcasting System educational TV in the USA) Sorry I have no more info. Sounds like a fun idea for a parade.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Bill D
Date: 30 Jan 98 - 02:59 PM

We used to have a couple of regulars here in Wash DC....a black lady who played gospel guitar, and a guy who had his own battery-powered little set-up, and he was really good...they were both fixtures here for years (also saw a couple guys playing flute & violin -- classical, at a subway stop years back)...not many on the streets these days...and 25 years ago in Berkeley, CA. on campus, I saw a young woman busking on dobro!Have several pictures of her...she was good, too....

and Brian Bowers, the autoharpist, started out in bars and on street corners...has some wild stories about it form the musician's point of view...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: GaryD
Date: 31 Jan 98 - 11:22 PM

Wow, would've loved to hear Brian doing "Zen Gospel Singing" on the corner..could've even dressed the part like a Bhuddist Monk.. By the way, I told a friend about me starting this thread. He asked, is there anyone out there making any real kinds of money performing as a street musician? He means monies like 15-20,000/yr. I told him I'd ask.. Anybody know of personal experiences or acquaintences who are making an average to better than average income? I may be wrong, but I get the impression that most Buskers are rather on the poverty end, but do it for the love of it. How much truth is there to that? And any of you out there offended by that perception?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 01 Feb 98 - 12:06 AM

I remember in my Boston, Mass. days (1976-79) going over to Brattle Square in Cambridge (a block down from Harvard Square) on a Saturday night in the summer and taking in more than a dozen different busking groups in an evening. It got to be such a popular place that I understand the city of Cambridge had to start a licensing system combined with a lottery to allocate the most popular sites. (The city, I should mention, invested some money in creating plazas and "street furniture" conducive to busking.)

I've never seen elsewhere such a concentrated collection of buskers.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Barry
Date: 01 Feb 98 - 12:39 AM

Charlie, Lots of folks here have Boston history. They still busk in the square, alot, durning warmer weather, as much as ever, never saw a better place for it, in a one block area you could see/hear up to 10 acts at once with out any one of them inpossing on the others. Some acts went on to become famous, Tracy Chapman was one. Barry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Ricky Rackin
Date: 01 Feb 98 - 01:57 AM

I was in a Harvard Square group called The Brattle Streetband back then. [Nancy Koch,Elliott Ribner,Tommy Magee, occasionally Todd Kabza & Andy Hanley] Surely one of the high points of my life. We even got a write-up in the alt press that used the Joanie Mitchell song mentioned above as a picture caption. Some scarry stuff though. Like the time we were playing in the Coop doorway and a guy snuck in behind me while I was playing concertina and started CHOKING me !! A plain-clothes cop was there, opended his "hippy" vest showing me his gun and told me not to WORRY !! Somehow I lived thru it..... Ricky


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: hanrahan
Date: 01 Feb 98 - 05:11 AM

This brings back memories of summer days on the Boston Common 1968-72....guitars, sometimes 10 or more...crowds of singers...bali-high(sp) wine ...a variety of herbal essances...war protests...George McGovern...concerts on Cambridge Common...what a time that was. Another great area for street performers is in New York City around 4th street i think, positively 4th street...and Washington Square where i once saw John Lennon playing some old wooden bongos with this huge man (6'5" at least) on a flute and a guitar player...It has been several years since i last passed through NYC, i wonder if the scene is still there. Boston & Cambridge are definitly still hosts to numerous buskers, not only music but i have recently seen magicians, acrobats, and even a fire eater...bless them all for the flavor they add to the city.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Bruce O.
Date: 01 Feb 98 - 01:15 PM

I saw lots of street singers in London when I was there in 1972. They were mostly around to entrances.exits to the subway, and most were Americans.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: GaryD
Date: 01 Feb 98 - 02:05 PM

I envy you guys. They are almost non existant in Central Minnesota. Obviously winter here shoots them all down, but even summer doesn't seem to work. I wonder if there are local laws against it. Also, any response to my question about what kind of money can be made? Also, I wonder what is would take to get the local Malls to allow them. Wouldn't that be attractive to bring patrons to the mall? Or would the merchants think it is an interference?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Jack mostly folk
Date: 01 Feb 98 - 03:36 PM

The largest and most encouraged Buskering going on has to be the touristy Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco.These street musicians surely make 20K plus during the height of the tourist season.They likely have night gigs as well. Some ten tears ago they had the infamous "Human Jukebox".This musician had decorated a large appliance box to look like a juke box with slots for green stuff money with song selections at each slot. When money went into the selected slot, the little curtain would rise and this bearded trumpeteer would wide eye appear and like a mechanical robot commence playing your favorite selection. Street entertainment at its best. The area was full of a wide variety of acys.Their musicians must obtain a permit before just any one can go out and busker. Another novilty idea I stumbled on and found to be most worthwhile was a workshop at a festaval, "How To Busker" conducted by traveling musicians Jem Moore and Ariane Lydon. They had some challenging ideas on how to busker anywhere when money got tight. Most cities don,t have laws against buskering, instead have laws pertaining to vagrantcy and panhandling. Musicians are providing a service for donations would be their defence. But they also advised when confronted by the authorities to gather your best money and move on. Tourist gigs are at best since the flow of new audiences are always changing. A real nice subject to ponder on.. Thanks Jack mostly folk


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Jack Hickman
Date: 01 Feb 98 - 11:44 PM

Good to see all the response to this subject. I live in Kingston, Ontario, and for the past seven years we've held a "Buskers' Rendezvous" here, sponsored by the Downtown Business Association. It attracts some pretty high-powered acts from out of town, mostly acrobats, jugglers, but with quite a few musical acts. A lot of local musicians and groups get involved, it lasts from Thursday to Sunday, with a grand finale in the waterfront park involving the finalists. The finale is said to attract an audience of about 3000 people. It's a good event, but not buskering in its truest form. I think it;s too structured. The rest of the year, we have a few buskers on the streets. They don't get hassled too much, but the City requires that they have a licence. The enforcement isn't too strict, I think it's there just in case a downtown business person objects to the buskers. I must admit that some of the acts are pretty mediocre, some guy with a 2.00 guitar, three chords and a terrible voice, or else our classic busker, a sadly disadvantaged person with a harmonica and a tambourine.

I'm 65 years old, play a mean bodhran (that's a real busking instrument) and a mediocre tin whistle. My dream is to take off for the summer to some town where nobody knows me, find a lucrative corner and sit and play my whistle all day. Maybe one of these years.

Keep the Faith.

Jack Hickman


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 02 Feb 98 - 12:40 AM

Probably the requirements for a good buskering place involve a fairly high numbers of passers-by, a decent-sized space, preferably plaza-like, and an acoustic environment without too much constant background noise. In Washington, DC, one summer evening, some friends and I thought it might be fun to find a place to become outdoor entertainment. The only place we could think of in the city with sufficiently heavy pedestrian traffic was Georgetown--and when we got there, we realized that the entire area is in the flight path of Washington National Airport, which means a loud and low overflying jet approximately every 75 seconds. It's no wonder that there isn't a buskering tradition in Georgetown, DC!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: DrWord
Date: 02 Feb 98 - 01:39 PM

In Winnipeg, at the newly redeveloped "The Forks" at the confluence of the Red River of the North and the Assiniboine, there are several "Busk Stops" where the traffic is high. A sort of audition is required, but the standards are not very stringent. A wide range of performers busk there. Last summer, at our town's annual fair, our folk festival set up three busk stops. Several of my friends and I made close to $100 a day. The high point for me was when Loreena McKennit dropped a toonie [Canadian two-dollar coin] into my mando case. btw, the verb is busk, busking [NOT buskering]. Enjoying this thread a lot! Let's keep it going.

Dennis


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: GaryD
Date: 03 Feb 98 - 10:32 PM

Wow, DrWord!...That's where I was when I saw that bagpiper I started this off with! We hope to return this summer during the folk festival!.. If you live near there, perhaps we can get connected. Messages can be relayed to me in through mudcat or my email Loomis@EspressoCom.Com To return to the subject, I think it would be nice to take some of the information above and talk to our City Fathers about it & see if they would be interested in conjunction with our local summer festival (similar to Jack H's)..& Charlie, I agree with you about the noise.When I was down in the subways of Chicago listening, every couple moments a new train came screeching in, drowning out everything!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 04 Feb 98 - 05:58 PM

The time I visited Paris a few years ago, there were Gypsy musicians busking on the Metro. They were very disciplined and professional in their manner and performance--which I thought reduced the charm of this kind of music.

On the other hand, the much less skilled musicians busking outside the health-food stores (good place to find rich people) in Santa Fe don't do much for me either. For one thing, a lot of them are very emotionally intense, and I can only take that if it goes with a lot of talent. For another, one of them goes barefoot, and in cold weather I just can't look at him. (If he wants to get pity for his real or fake poverty he should wrap his feet in newspapers and rags.) This is a tip for all you buskers out there.

Some of you Irish and Hibernophilic (?) folks might like Ray Bradbury's book Green Shadows, White Whale, about his stay in Ireland working on the script for John Huston's Moby Dick. One of the episodes is about a woman playing the harp on a street in Dublin.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From:
Date: 05 Feb 98 - 12:02 AM

Jack, I'm glad to read that you are still playing after all these years. Your band and the guest musicians used to have some good sessions after the multicultural thingamajig in Kingston, and I hope you are still having them. I remember one in particular in Sydenham Ward where early one morning we heard a loud pounding on the door, and I jokingly roared that it's only the cops. It was.

BTW, Jack, I was very sorry to read about the mass destruction of Kingston's fine old trees during the ice storm. I understand that your local JayCee chapter is starting a fund to replant them, but none of us will ever live to see them the size of your grand old trees, planted in the days of the British garrison. (For those of you from outside of Canada, the old part of Kingston is one of the prettiest cities in Canada, and certainly has the finest pubs in Ontario.)

Jon, I don't watch TV anymore but I do know what PBS is. It is available in the most remote parts of Canada. Does this Whoville band march? I'm serious about this as I would like a real Whoville band for the parade. It would be a fine Christmas thing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Timothy Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 05 Feb 98 - 12:05 AM

That last post was from me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Jon W.
Date: 05 Feb 98 - 10:27 AM

Sorry, Tim, I really don't know any more about the Dr. Seuss instruments than I said in my last post. It was just something that was on TV and caught my attention momentarily as I walked through the room, but the program was pretty much over by then. I think it was just an older married couple who had contracted to provide the music for Dr. Seuss cartoons, and built several instruments to do so. Plus they used synthesizers a lot.

For a parade, you can probably get by with improvising on the simple stuff (kettle and trash can lids, for instance). You might want to try hiding real instruments inside of papier-mache mock ups for some of the more fancy things. Also I would suggest plastic plumbing pipe and fittings. It's light, cheap, easy to work, and can be painted to disguise it as metal. No doubt you can sculpt many fantastic wind instruments with it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: wolfgang.janz@notes.basf-ag.de
Date: 05 Feb 98 - 10:53 AM

Buskering Lago di Garda /Italy: Every year we go to Malcesine on Lake Garda, where you can play at the lakeside in places like Garda, Riva and Malcesine at warm September nights; songs from the sixties, like Eleonor Rigby and Strawberry fields forever or Norwegian wood. People stop wandering and listen to the tunes throwing some lire in your guitar case.. Awesome... Hobby busker Stag


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Dani
Date: 05 Feb 98 - 11:24 AM

Jack Hickman, come to Chapel Hill NC. There's a college-town-casual scene along Franklin Street that I love. Day or night, you're likely to hear a haunting sax or a lively penny whistle. One Friday night while driving through my daughter and I heard some driving percussion, so we ditched the car and grabbed a seat on a curb to hear a pickup group play small rhythm instruments of ALL kinds in a lengthy jam that would give you goosebumps to hear. We joined in as well as we could on our knees and then danced.

Dani


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Timothy Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 05 Feb 98 - 10:18 PM

No, I have enough to do with the parade without building instruments and marching in it too. I was hoping someone would be doing this already.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Tom Henehan
Date: 05 Feb 98 - 11:46 PM

I spent a couple of years (1971-72) singing on the streets of San Francisco (summer) and New Orleans (winter). It was soty of a "golden age" -- no permits required, plenty of talented people. In SF especially, you could hear any kind of music. Around Union Square, you could hear harpists, string quartets, and other classical-type acts; us folk/blues types did better around Fisherman's Wharf, Ghiradelli Square and (especially) Pier 1 Imports. (It wasn't such a golden age for income, though. I put in a solid 40-50 hours a week for maybe $80-$100. There were better musicians, but very few putting in as much time, and I don't think you could make much more money.) My favorite fellow buskers were three very old, very primitive gospel singers here in New Orleans. They were in it for Jesus, not for the money, and they didn't make much. Youcan check them out if you rent the movie "Easy Rider"; they appear on screen for just a few seconds, but they provide the sound track for at least five minutes during the Mardi Gras acid trip scene. Probably didn't get paid for it either -- ask Dennis Hopper. My busking career ended in Boston/Cambridge, Mass. I had just been busted for draft evasion, and was undecided whether to turn myself in or continue north towards Canada. After a pleasant and lucrative evening entertaining the folks lined up outside the Orson Welles Theatre, I accepted an offer to huddle up inside a VW van to smoke a J. My hosts -- who I later learned were the STP family from Boulder -- sliped me a mickey; I woke up the next afternoon with no wallet, no money, no ID, and my glases broken. They did, however, leave my Martin guitar alone, thank God. I would up spending a year in the Army as a conscientious objector, eventually got discharged "for the convenience of the government," and right now I sitting in a house I bought on the GI bill. Since I made more girls than money as a streetsinger, I had to give it up when I got married. I'm still nostalgic about the good old days, though, and recently got back into a little bit as a vocalist in a PTA oldies roock band. My wife and kids gave me an acoustic guitar pickup and a little practice amp for Christmas, and I'm trying to work up some of my old repertoire for an open mike night or two. I found this site searching for some lyrics I had forgotten -- it's great! Thanks for listening to my reminiscences about the good old days.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 06 Feb 98 - 05:55 PM

You mention the STP family from Boulder like we should know them. Who are or were they?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Christa
Date: 13 Feb 98 - 04:10 PM

FYI - the busking scene is alive and well in the UK and Ireland. The winter drives them into the Underground or the shelter of ancient buildings, but in the three remaining seasons, there are *amazingly* talented people to be found liberaly littered in random places making fabulous music. And *every night* in every wee hamlet frae John O'Groats tae Land's End, there are jaw-dropping pickup sessions that wend well into the wee hours of the night, producing angel-music at 3 am by peat fires in long-since closed pubs. God, how I miss it all !!

I just returned from the better part of two years in Scotland, and did some busking myself at the Fringe each year - pyur deid brillyunt, as they say in Glasgow ! But here behind the Orange Curtain in SoCal, no such gatherings are allowed, and no pub scene flourishes.... so I sit by the stereo, listening to all those badly-taped-on-a-walkman sessions, remembering, singing to myself, and dreaming of a day when music gains as central a place in life here in the States.

Slainte and Cheers.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Jon W.
Date: 13 Feb 98 - 05:31 PM

Yes, Christa, when music replaces Muzak!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Alex
Date: 14 Feb 98 - 01:31 AM

I seem to recall the term "Busker" comes from the origina British street musicians working that captive audience at a Bus Stop i.e. a Bus Queue. Is that the origin?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 14 Feb 98 - 12:51 PM

OED says "busker" comes from the obsolete "busk", meaning "to peddle".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Alex
Date: 16 Feb 98 - 10:59 PM

Yes, but the modern-day usage means to perform in the street nothing to do with selling anything. There's also an old Scots song with the line "Busk, Busk, Bonnie lassie, an' come awa' wi' me, An' I'll tak' ye tae Glen Isla, Near bonnie Glen Shee". I don't think the lad was inviting her to sell anything or play him a tune either!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 19 Feb 98 - 01:03 PM

Eric Partridge agrees with the OED that the musical "busk" originally meant "peddle". The change from "playing in the street for money" to "playing in the street for any purpose" is a small one. (This word is ultimately from Spanish buscar and Italianbuscare, "to seek", which in turn may be from Germanic words related to "bush"--as in "beat the bushes for something".)

"Busk" in that Scots song is unrelated. It means "prepare oneself, get ready" or "hurry", either of which makes sense in the song. (It's from an Old Norse word for "prepare oneself", and may be distantly related to "bound" as in "bound for glory".)

Now pretend you're interested, Alex!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: GaryD
Date: 22 Feb 98 - 07:51 PM

Well, I guess I got my money's worth from this thread I started. Sure glad for all your inputs. I sure wish there was some activity here in Central MN, I'll have to hope I can travel to some of your locales sometime in the future. Good luck to all of you who have contributed & I hope you will be immensely successful & happy if you entertain as a busker. Keep on the Sunnyside!..Gary


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Alex
Date: 24 Feb 98 - 01:18 AM

I guess the explanation of Bonnnie Glen Shee is that the Scots lad was telling his lass to get ready and prepare her bush.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: dwditty
Date: 24 Feb 98 - 06:42 AM

Ah, yes. Street musicians. I always take the opportunity to stop and listen - no matter what, and I always make a contribution. When I was at UMASS in 1975 (I had "tenyear" in college), a guitar player used to show up in the student union, He was from Boston and wore a badge #1 issued by the city of Boston (I guess to try to enforce some kind of bureaucracy on an the practice of singing - oh, what's next).
Another memory has me on a shuttle boat in Nassau. There was an older gentleman playing guitar and singing. Now, one of my favorite artists of all times is Joseph Spence who lived a good deal of his life in Nassau. During our conversation, this "boat" musician allowed as how Joseph's playing "just complexifies my mind." I later asked him to play a particular song (I was riding back and forth between the shuttle stops at this point - ain't no way I was leaving). His response was that that song just never grafted to his head.
Last October I was in Denver on business. Whenever I travel, I always seek out the local music scene. Ran into a street musician (can't remember his street) but he had been there for years - every day - winter and summer. Again, I stayed until "last call"
Except for one guy I saw playing Jethro Tull's Aqualung on an electric guitar through a Pignose amp (Boston), I would call all these buskers "folk musicians" - please see thread entitled Methodologies for more on this subject!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From:
Date: 24 Feb 99 - 09:16 PM

The best buskers in the world are in Covent Garden London and on the streets and the metro in Paris. There is nowhere in the US, not San Francisco, not even New York that matches Paris and London. Proof of this is that Paris and London are full of Americans on the run from a country that doesn't allow them free musical expression playing American music to the only people they can find who will listen, namely Europeans......go figure....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Teresa
Date: 24 Feb 99 - 10:32 PM

Close to ten years ago, I set off across the San Francisco B ay with my guitar to busk in a subway (BART) station. The day was hot and humid--unusual weather for San Francisco in October. After playing for a couple of hours and not geting much money, I decided to do one more song before I packed up. I heard a rumble which seemed unusually loud. Then the floor began to slither and roll, and all heck broke loose. The floor pitched and yawed, and it was all I could do to keep my feet and get my guitar back into its case. I didn't bother to panic; I simply had the feeling that the whole world was about to fall on top of me. So why panic? I finally did--when the quake stopped and I realized I was still alive! I feel pretty lucky. Teresa


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: jets
Date: 24 Feb 99 - 10:35 PM

I have been busking in the city of Portland Maine for the last two years .I usualy play solo on my squeeze box,but on occasion, have played there with my 3 piece band.Squeeze box ,guitar and manolin. Playing solo is my favoite but I will admit that as a trio,we make better music. How much can you make was asked. The guitar player went on the corner and played,and sang r&b solo for 4 hrs and picked up #o.35 . The next day I went to the same corner played 3hrs and picked up $55.00.As a trio we make about the same every time but of course there is a three way split.A guitar player singing on the corner is old hat but what we play as a trio and what I play as a solo is something that they have never heard,and I might add that we do it well. It was last September that a lady approched me and asked if I was Finnish.I told her that I was of French extraction.She said ,But those are all Finnish songs that you are playing.She was from Michigan and was the daughter of Finnish parents Can't wait to get back on the corner.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: GaryD
Date: 24 Feb 99 - 10:57 PM

Wow...can't believe my thread of a year ago is still going.. Still fascinated with the Street Musician thing.. Wish I could do it here in Central MN..If not for money so much, just would like to entertain to passer's by. It is nice to know the tradition still works elsewhere. But with the snow & unprotected environment here (not to mention the stupid local legislation against such things), I guess I'll just have to hear about it here...

Any other inputs would be Great... thanks Gary


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: alison
Date: 24 Feb 99 - 11:27 PM

Hi,

I had had a really long tiring day in London and was exhausted......... coming home in the underground I had been subjected to the usual stuff as previously mentioned... Stairway to heaven, Blowing in the wind etc ...... well I got off the tube and there at the bottom of the escalators were two pretty beat up looking violinists............... but when they started to play it was magic.... they did Bach's violin concerto in D minor...... brilliant.....

My other favourite busking memory was in Annecy, (a small town in the French Alps..... it is built beside a lake and has the most wonderful old part of the city... really old buildings alongside canals...... sort of like Venice .. only prettier)....... there were two blokes dressed in black cloaks and masks pushing a harpsichord around the cobbled streets on a wagon type thing... every so often they'd stop and play.. some haunting melodies.. while one of them skulked about through the crowd, like a hunchback collecting the money. they were fantastic... really fitted in with the whole ambience of the old town. beautiful place I'd go back there like a shot if I could.

Slainte

alison


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Reggie Miles
Date: 24 Feb 99 - 11:54 PM

I was quite surprised that no one has mentioned Seattle among the many places that accomodate busking. There is and has been a very active population of buskers there for the last twenty years or more. I know I'm one of them. I've also played the streets of Boulder Colorado, San Francisco and Santa Cruz CA, and New Orleans LA. The Pacific Northwest though holds a certain attraction for me. The Pike Place Market in Seattle has been a wonderful place to perform over the years and after twenty years I still enjoy it. The number of visitors there make it an ideal location. There are locations designated and numbers at those indicating the number of performers that can busk at a given locale. There are fees to obtain a permit to perform there and a host of rules and regulations governing the activity but generally common sense seems to be the main guide. If someone wishes to perform with a giving heart in a respectful manner there's a place. There is a wide variety of entertainment that shows up mostly of the musical variety an occasional magician, puppeteer, sorry, no loud or amplified instruments allowed. The proximity to those who live in the market prohibits them. Years ago the rules were nonexistent now the beaurocrats insist on them. As an entertainer I've seen the effect of these restrictions before and after the fact. I'm not so sure that I agree with them but I live with them. All in all the experience of having a place to perform for a live though mobile audience has been rewarding beyond words. The street has been a place to hone my various talents. First arriving in the area in '78 I was playing alot of guitar and harmoninca but shortly after was given the job of percussionist in a band that a few of us put together. We called ouselves the Buzzards. I became the washboard player in the band. We played alot of old timey fiddle tunes and bluegrass as well as originals. Never having played percussion before I had my work cut out for me. My washboard later transformed into quite the sound effects playground and is still metamorphosing. The Buzzards went their separate ways but I've kept on scrubbin' on the darn ol' thang, mostly with jug and washboard blues bands. Recently the creation of my own crazy percussion /sound effects gizmo has inspired me to take a stab at creating my last two rezophonic guitars with grand results. Constructed with only seat of the pants luthierism on my part and no fancy toolery. Most recently I've set aside my guitar and percussion work to play with razor sharp handtools on the streets. It's something that I first encountered on the streets of Santa Cruz. There, about twenty years ago, a man by the name of Tom Scribner played his musical saw and amazed me with his abilty. It would be years later before I would find one at a swap meet and years more before I would even begin to explore its mysteries. I've been at it now for five years and though I don't feel I've mastered it, I really get a kick out of playing it. It sets me apart from all those guitar players out there on the street. Besides Tom isn't playing his saw on any of these streets around here any more. He's playing those heavenly streets of gold. I figured someone needed to take up where he left off down here. The money made at this sort of activity varies as to the amount of time and energy you wish or can invest in it. Time of day, week, month, year, location, your own abilities with your own chosen form of entertainment, music, juggling, puppetry, etc., they and endless other variables enter into whether you will succeed at this thing we call busking. What is your definition of success? That too has to be factored in. As for myself I've had the time of my life and still enjoy busking. I too am looking at the European scene as another area I'd like to explore. I do my share of pubs, restaurants, schools, concerts, festivals and other special events and I don't think I'll ever stop busking. As my friend Artis the Spoonman likes to comment, there are no age limits, dress codes, cover charges, minimum drink charges on the street you can play to everyone. I like those demographics. Saw ya later, Reggie Miles


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Jack Hickman - Kingston, ON
Date: 25 Feb 99 - 12:16 AM

I lost track of this thread for a while, but quite enjoyed picking it up again. The question was asked, how much money can buskers make, and the answer varies an awful lot. In our town during the Buskers' Festival, we found that a family consisting of ma and pa and five kids would stand in front of you for half an hour, make all kinds of requests, then when ready to move on, would throw a quarter in the case. This to be split amond six of us. On the other hand, once, and only once, a young lady known to all of us in the band dropped in ten bucks without batting an eye. I don't know whether she liked us or the music we played.

I've spoken to a couple of guys about how worth while it is to busk. This one guy lives about 60 miles from our town, and during the summer comes in about 3 times a week to busk. In the winter, he goes to Toronto, a round trip of about 150 miles, to play in the St. Lawrence Market. He says he makes out alright, but he always looks like a ragbag, although anytime I've seen his kids, they were always clean and well-dressed. He usually has them close by as a psychological ploy. Maybe his wife has a good job and supports his busking habits, among others.

The other guy I have in mind plays on the streets all year long, and that takes some doing in our climate. He wears special mittens with the fingers exposed so he can play his guitar. About three days a week he plays for a couple of hours in front of the liquor store, and tells me he makes out like a bandit. I guess people going into to buy booze have a sense of guilt. They never stop to listen, just throw money in the case and walk on.

During our Buskers' Festival, they attract a lot of travelling buskers who really make a living out of it. They're good, but most importantly, they know how to attract and hold a crowd for about half an hour or so. It wouldn't surprise me it they made in the 20k range, but they also have a lot of travel expenses.

Tim Jacques: A belated response to your comments above. The latest thing is what the City fathers are planning to do with our beautiful County Court House. As a lawyer, you'd appreciate it. I'll fill you in in another message. Send me your e-mail address.

Keep the Faith, all of you.

Jack Hickman


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 25 Feb 99 - 01:40 AM

Once, in my 20s while living briefly in Holland, I sat down in an Amsterdam park and took out the guitar. Didn't even think about busking 'cause I was working in a club frequented by American school teachers and the pay wasn't bad. I was just doodling around and before I knew it, my case was getting filled....with joints! I wasn't sure just how liberal the Dutch laws were and having seen "Midnight Express" didn't want to end up in jail...on the other hand I didn't want to leave the dope! It was when a middle aged woman came by and said "Dylan, please" and included with some coins, a small BAG of dope that I realised "This was definitely NOT Kansas!" or Toronto either.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Willie-O
Date: 25 Feb 99 - 12:01 PM

I spent quite a few years playing on the street, mostly in the ByWard Market in Ottawa, but including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, San Francisco, and Kingston. I played hammered dulcimer mostly, which has a high "whazthat thing?" quotient, a unique and penetrating sound, and an interesting visual aspect. Six or eight hours a day of practicing was great for my technique, but then I was sick of playing, and tended not to sit down and learn new tunes on my own time, so I kept on with the same fifty or sixty. Which got boring. Hard to keep it in tune in the sun, needless to say, but I tried to keep it somewhere near concert.

I usually took a mandolin or fiddle with me to have something to switch to, to break the monotony or if a friend showed up to jam, but the dulcimer generated a lot more interest and money.

The amount of money I made varied pretty much in direct proportion to pedestrian traffic which is a function of time of day and what part of the week it is. Might make $30-45 on a weekday afternoon, $50-70 on a Saturday or Sunday, and at special events like Canada Day, $100/day was not at all unheard of. My best day ever was outside the Eaton Centre in Toronto, made $170 in a long day--probably eight hours of banging out tunes between noon and 10 p.m.

There's always regulatory politics in busking, and the regs are always changing. Since I got out of it ten or twelve years ago, Ottawa went to a licencing system, then dropped it. The only rule enforced now, I think, is it's bad form to hog the best spots for more than an hour--if either a vendor or another musician asks for the spot after you've been there a long time, you're soupposed to move on.

Busk stops--that's cute.

Longtime buskers get locally famous. (I think I know the "ragamuffin" guy you mention in Kingston, Jack--in fact I resemble him, although I ain't him.)

A buddy of mine who's a street old-timer, Spider Merritt, used to busk every winter on the Rideau Canal, which is the worlds longest skating rink. Canal officials used his picture in their publicity one year without permission or payment, and he took them to Small Claims court. He won $1800 for--get this--"wrongful misappropriation of personality." The defendants argued that the statute in question only applied to famous people. Spider's been a full-time busker for twenty-odd years, and has a big collection of newspaper articles & pictures of himself--which he presented as evidence and succeeded in proving himself famous!

Funnily enough, they busted another one-man-band busker on the canal this winter, and now he's famous too. The papers and radio stations couldn't get enough of him, and his CD sales are doing great!

I learned a lot working on the street, and the money was often o.k. It was cash, too. But most folks burn out on it eventually. I don't have it in me to do the 60-mile drive to town for who knows what compensation, and the dulcimer doesn't get played much anymore.

Bill


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Bert
Date: 25 Feb 99 - 01:14 PM

What IS the problem that officials have with buskers? It many cities the sight of a guitar is enough to bring the local cops out.

I was sitting on my own front porch one day with a few friends we were singing folk songs (not loudly) and the police came by and told us to stop.

This is in Phoenixville PA, a town of 15000 or so.
I met a guy in New Hope PA, who HAD a street musicians license from the city. He said he still couldn't play there though because the police kept moving him on.

So, all you policemen out there, these are the questions.
Have you EVER seen a traffic jam caused by a busker?
Have you EVER seen a riot or disturbance caused by a busker?
Have you EVER heard a busker play as loudly as those punks with car stereos? You allow them to play with impunity down our street.
So you bullies with badges WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM????

Bert.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Street Musicians, Buskers?
From: Penny
Date: 25 Feb 99 - 06:17 PM

It's not just the police - I was in York, part of a group enjoying the playing of a band from the Andes when the woman owner of a nearby gift shop came out and demanded they move because they were taking custom from her. She was the sort of Brit who gives us a bad name, uptight, upper-class emulation, narrow of voice and attitude. She was also the sort who expects no opposition, and none of us said a word. None of us went into her shop, either, and most of us followed the musicians. They were good players.

I would also recommend to those visitors to London who like classical busking that they go to the Kensington area, near South Kensington Tube station, or the tunnel to the Science Museum, where the students from the schools of music perform.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 17 July 12:33 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.