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Buskers to the Musical Rescue

Ellen Levitt

Posted on December 14, 2020 02:31

4 users

Among the few ways to see live music these days is to happen upon buskers.

Ever since I was a kid I've been enamored of buskers and busking in general. Happening upon one or more musicians performing in public is a special joy, at least usually. (I have come across some pretty awful buskers in my time.)

I've encountered musicians playing for spare change on train platforms and in trains; in parks and plazas; at street fairs and in small corners on city streets; above and below ground. I've seen them in NYC and elsewhere. I feel it's good luck to give them some money unless they are really bad or obnoxious.

Buskers come in various types: female, male, co-ed ensembles, solos, duos, trios, quartets and even bigger. I've heard them play rock 'n roll, jazz, classical, various ethnic musical styles. Many are young, others are older. I've daydreamed about busking. It's not easy.

Usually I attend at least a few dozen concerts and shows each year. I saw my first official concert in 1980 in Central Park, and since then I've been to hundreds. I've easily seen more concerts than movies in my lifetime. I love live music, and I would say that going to shows is one of my biggest joys.

So 2020 has been a bust. I saw exactly one big-time concert (the Allman Brothers Band tribute at Madison Square Garden, in mid-March, which I wrote about for The Latest.) Shows we were scheduled to see were cancelled and postponed. I feel badly for the musicians, road crews and so many industry people who have been greatly impacted by this lousy Pandemic.

Thus when I have come upon buskers these days, I've been so happy, so uplifted by the live music. Today my husband and I walked around the western section of Brooklyn's Prospect Park and came upon two musical acts playing for contributions, and they were both really good. The first was a quartet called Sweet Megg; they featured a woman singing and playing banjo, and guys playing standup bass, drums and acoustic guitar. They played old-timey songs in a kind of country & Western vein. My husband and I gave them money as did many other people; I would even pay to see them in a club or bar.

Later we walked more into the center of the park, near ballfields, and I could hear live jazz. We strolled over to see a trio: guys playing standup bass, drums and tenor saxophone. They were called the West 4th Trio. I also gave them money and listened to two of their numbers.

A few weeks earlier we listened to a bluegrass quartet in the northern end of the Park, and outside by the Central Library there was a trio playing steel pans. We enjoyed them as well.

I've heard about some other groups playing on porches in a few Brooklyn neighborhoods, and people stand distanced on the sidewalks, listening eagerly. There's even a group called Concerts From Cars!

I'm not the only person so grateful to these musicians.

Ellen Levitt

Posted on December 14, 2020 02:31

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Source: Forbes

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