Busker: a person who entertains in a public place for donations. Busking: Street performance or busking is the practice of performing in public places, for gratuities, which are generally in the form of money and edibles. People engaging in this practice are called street performers, buskers, street musicians, minstrels, or troubadours.
Performances can be just about anything that people find entertaining. Performers may do acrobatics, animal tricks, balloon twisting, card tricks, caricatures, clowning, comedy, contortions and escapes, dance, singing, fire eating, fire breathing, fortune-telling, juggling, magic, mime and a mime variation where the artist performs as a living statue, musical performance, puppeteering, snake charming, storytelling or recite poetry or prose as a bard, street art (sketching and painting, etc.), street theatre, sword swallowing, and even putting on a flea circus.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear of some one busking (if you knew what that word means? Or when you see some one entertaining in this way?
For example, if it is a musician, do you listen? Are you able to enjoy the talent, if indeed they possess any? Or do you see a beggar, a bum, or some one who needs to get a job? Would you drop some money in their case because you appreciate what they are offering or because you feel sorry for them?
This may seem odd to you but this has been on my mind a great deal lately. Why? Because, my husband is a busker. Oh yes, he stands on the street and opens up his case. And then he plays his violin. Sometimes people gather around, sometimes toes start to tap and at times bodies start to dance. He plays songs for children, takes requests, plays fiddle tunes, hymns, classical, musicals, and improvises. Sometimes he will play for hours. Often there is a red blistered spot on his cheek from where his violin rests. And for the past year and a half, the money that enters his case is what I turn around and buy groceries with.
Mostly he receives very positive feedback. Especially here, many people want to play with him or encourage him in his music. Many tell him that they love to hear him play. Venders at the markets ask him to stand by their booth. But, even for all of that, many do not see what he does as a job. They appreciate the music yet don’t seem to realize that fifteen minutes of him chatting with them means that he isn’t making money, that just like the vendors, he is doing a job. But those ones are kind and Dan enjoys chatting with them.
I have actually had people ask me (with disdain) if my husband ever works. This at a time when he was working three jobs and taking classes as well. My response was thankfully pleasant but concise; “yes, he works really hard.” Later the more witty/sarcastic comments came to mind, such as suggesting that perhaps they would like to have a go on his violin. Or to ask how they thought he came to the place where people enjoy, want, and ask for him to play. Then, last night was the icing on the cake. Some one dropped money into his case, said “ at least you look like you are busy, get some help.”
As we talked about it later, Dan was discouraged, he said that he felt like he is viewed as a beggar rather than an artist.. Even though he knows that he is sharing art, beauty that others might otherwise not have the chance to enjoy. He is good at it and those who wish to pay him for it. In a place where unemployment is high as are social assistance checks, he is working. And just happens to love what he is doing.
So what is my point? I suppose that I have a couple. One that I am proud of my husband’s abilities as well as his willingness to provide for our needs creatively using what he can. Secondly, I have a request. Next time you walk past a busker and you appreciate whatever it is they are doing, drop a few coins in if you have them.