, 25. June 2016
„Positivity-oriented not Profit-oriented“

Fascination Street Musicians

They are at home on the streets of the world. Musicians travel through cities, present their art to entertain others on roads, bridges and subway stations. Many of their texts are about freedom, desires and big dreams. As a solo entertainer or playing music in groups - street musicians belong to the image of a city and revitalize the sometimes dreary everyday life along the way.

x-working Street musicians playing guitar on the Piazza Signora in Florence, Italy.
Street musicians playing guitar on the Piazza Signora in Florence, Italy.

Wandering minstrels already existed since early antiquity. In many cultures there were also Celtic bards who moved across the country to showcase their music. Nowadays, the motives to present music on the streets are diverse: Some consider their music as a hobby and just want to appeal to a wide audience. Some musicians hereby also live their dreams or contribute their share to social movements. They prefer not to receive big recording contracts. They want to travel and cover the costs of the travel and of the meals with their music. Some musicians are politically motivated, especially in the 1970s and 1980s. They want to create an alternative public view with their music for socio-critical topics and participate in demonstrations and strikes.

Buskers use high traffic locations such as shopping streets, street markets, tourist attractions and public transportation. The music styles differ: From classical music and baroque music over jazz, country and folk music up to rock, pop and folk music - there is all to be heard. Strongholds of buskers are cities such as Berlin, London, Barcelona as well as Memphis, New Orleans or Chicago.

Many famous artists have started as a busker including icons such as Rod Stewart, Yann Tiersen or Paul Simon. A current star on Berlin's streets is the South African Alice Phoebe Lou. She travelled throughout Europe and decided to stay in Berlin. Alice often plays on the Warschauer Straße and got quite a few record deals from major music corporations offered. But she refused. She calls her thinking "positivity-oriented not profit-oriented". Thus she develops her music in a sustainable way and very slowly.

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