Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Norton Street HAPI Drum

My son, Hunter, and I caught this young man on Norton St and were gently seduced by his playing's rhythmic charms.
After getting the thumbs-up for filming, dropped a buck [& a BuskerDu card] in the cap that looked like it was picked up on some exotic adventure [another detail befitting the overall flavour].
As we walked away, it occurred to both of us that we should have asked him what the hell instrument he was playing - having never seen one before.
Google helped a bit - I tried 'football sized steel drum' and got a few pages for something called a Hang [pronounced 'Hong' apparently] - but that wasn't quite it.
Then I got all Sherlock and read the name on the bag next to him. Elementary! Turns out it's a HAPI drum (Hand Activated Percussion Instrument) - and very pleasing they are too in the right hands.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Archibald Fountain Guitar Rock Duo

"Musical differences" - that's the pat answer to why the band split up, isn't it?
But, on the flip side, what keeps it together? You'd have to say "musical similarities", yeah?
On the face of it these guys, visually, have differences. But not musically.
They're a novelty for buskerdu - two guitars playing in tight accord. One in the hands of the dude all rock hair and attitude - the other, just about the music. Together, holistic. Nice work.
I must get into the habit of asking if 'groups' have a name. {That's my son, Hunter, slipping them half a buck, btw}

Monday, September 22, 2014

World Square Guitar Percussion

Busking has morphed with the times hasn't it? Once it was defined as the experience you had right there, right then - with possibly a self-promotion element like a business card for gigs or, more recently, maybe a CD.
Now, of course, it's *potentially* as big as the web - and a degree of culpability lies with this very blog.
At the same time, there seems to me a shift in buskers' material. There has always been real talent on the streets, but I'm sensing a move away from the personal with more tailoring towards a broader audience. There's starting to be slicker product out there - what's next for busking?

Art & About Ukulele Smiths

About 20 years ago [!] I saw a busker working the main drag in Adelaide at about 10 pm. Had quite a crowd [really not a lot of competition, entertainmentwise]. Anyway, his very memorable USP was that he was doing Smiths numbers - in an upbeat style! It worked.
In all that time since, I've never seen anyone else cover The Smiths - until today. And what was extra cool about this - apart from being situated among the Art & About photos near St James station in Hyde Park - was that it was being performed with a ukulele. Again, it worked - genius.
I usually ask first before filming - but I was so overcome at hearing the Moz lyrics with uke accompaniment that I dived straight in.
Jonathan was very good about it & handed me his card - he is, indeed, available for weddings, parties, anything - & can be reached at

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Circular Quay Hula Hooper

A lot of my (I say "my", I mean, you know, generally) buskers just stand there and do their thing. Usually musical.
But there's another breed of street performer that is more proactive in audience engagement. In situ marketing you could call it.
If hula hoop girl* just stood there and did her thing my guess is most strollers would pass on by. But she's got that performer chutzpah - where do they get that? - which practically demands you pay attention. And a crowd did indeed start to form.
Circuses and bread.
*And I'm sure she has a multitude of other talents, I just didn't have time to view the full "show".

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Town Hall Spanish Guitar & Singer

I wouldn't say Spanish guitar players are a dime a dozen exactly, but it is a fairly crowded niche in the busking game, and you need to be pretty special to stand out. [see: Tom Ward] I don't mean to slight the doubtless years of dedication to the craft, but, well - I'm less inclined to include yet another one (even superbly skilled).
So, while this guy wasn't a display of technical brilliance, the combination with singing was a winner. I just missed him doing a top notch job of 'Girl from Ipanema' - shame - anyway... only too happy to give a plug for his website.

Monday, January 20, 2014

World Square Rap + Guitar

A melding of genres - and damn me if it doesn't work. I think I'm pretty open-minded for an old fart, but I still feel they play a bit too much rap on FBi.
These two, however, blend & click well. Would have happily stuck around for more.
Busker Du spotters - isn't Frances Castley my Bondi Junction Chanteuse from August last year? I think it is (& looking hot in those shorts).
Other passersby must have reacted to the chemistry as well - their guitar case was Stuffed with Note$$. The life of the muso, eh?