What is your reaction when you see a busker entering the metro or playing in your street? A lot of people simply cross the street or keep their headphones on. However, some of the most talented musicians see the street as their stage and offer everyone unique performances. Here are 10 of the artists you really shouldn’t miss!
Wesseh “Weesay” Freeman
You might have heard of him already: Weesay is a self-taught Liberian guitarist whose videos went viral in the last months. A few years back, this blind musician decided to spend three days making his own guitar out of an oil can and old brake cables. He then decided to take a week to learn the basics of guitar by himself and started to play in the streets of Monrovia. Wesseh is a one of a kind artist, with an exceptional sense of rhythm and a very specific sound due to his homemade guitar.
Born and raised in Italy, Dario Rossi quickly realized at the age of 10 that drums were “his instrument”. Through the explosive energy he puts in playing, he found a way to express himself both physically and mentally. He loves performing in the street (he considers it as “the best stage in the world”) to offer bystanders a crazy ‘homemade’ rave party. Hitting pots, woks, buckets, pans and scraps of metal, he performs mind-blowing sets. He calls his music style “techno with a more human touch”.
As a reaction to the 9/11 attacks, Estas Tonne decided to go to New York in 2002. He had guitar and no plans at that time but he knew he wanted to start something new there. Since then, his music has touched more and more people, a lot of them saying that “watching him playing live is an experience worth living”. Rather than being one specific style, Estas Tonne describes his music as simply “world music”. His dexterity and the emotions he puts in playing make his performances stunning and exceptional.
In 2008, three brothers Simon, Esben and Aske decided to take a 10 days trip to New York where they met Nils, their “fourth brother”. They started playing as an acoustic rock band in the streets of the Big Apple. Their spontaneity and energy when making music makes each of their performances outstanding and really fun to watch and listen to. As they say: “We play music because it makes us happy and gives us energy. Our goal is to share as much of that happiness and energy with you as a listener.”
Originally from Denton, Texas, rapper Infidelix traveled across Ireland, Spain, UK and Scotland. In Europe, he went from volunteering on a farm building an eco house to motivating young rappers to pursue their dreams, before finally landing in Berlin where he’s currently playing. Although he’s got opportunities to play on stage, playing in the streets is for him where the magic happens: “The best memory I have is a kid who comes down from his flat each time I play at Frankfurter Allee. He’s probably 12 years old and plays his drumsticks on the ground next to me”.
The “techno marching band” from Hamburg has become increasingly famous in the last months, especially with a video of the group performing a cover of Ame’s track “Rej”. MEUTE is a dozen of musicians playing drums, brass and a xylophone reinterpreting electronic music into something more “human”. They’ve been asked to perform in a lot of festivals, events and private parties.
Born in Havering in 1984, Daniel started to play drums at the age of 11. He became passionate about playing the guitar at the age of 14 and even made his own guitar from scratch for a school project. Daniel got his first Hand Pan in 2007 and since then has been playing it around the world. He describes himself as a “21st century troubadour traveling the globe with a UFO”. Daniel’s mind-blowing Hand Pan performances are aerial, poetic and give his audiences a real feeling of peace and poetry.
The Pipe Guy
“Pipe Guy” started playing drums in high school, and started performing with what he calls a “tubulum” or a “thongaphone” in his hometown, Adelaide, South Australia in 2012. He uses his homemade instrument (made of PVC pipes) with a pair of flip-flops. The outcome is a completely unexpected electronic-like sound, yet 100% acoustic. The reason he likes playing on the streets: “Because I’m right there doing it in a place you might not expect to find live electronic sounding music”. He also enjoys playing on stage with a microphone and a drum machine. “Having large crowds raving and dancing on my music is a great feeling”.
After both learning instruments as children, S.K. Thoth and Lila’Angelique met in 2009 and decided to travel, sing and play music together as “Tribal Baroque”. They started in New York and are now performing in other cities and countries around the world. Lila’Angelique’s soprano voice and S.K. Thoth’s countertenor vocals fit perfectly together to create a unique and passionate fantasy opera. They prefer performing without amplification and “release a huge amount of energy without hurting anyone” through their performances. By playing in the streets they faced harassment and non-acceptance, but also lived a wonderful moment when a young woman came to them with eyes filled with tears,saying “that was the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard”.
Alice Phoebe Lou
Alice is from Cape Town, South Africa. At the age of 18 she decided to take a trip to Europe. After traveling from city to city, she landed in Berlin in 2013 and started to busk. You can regularly hear her very singular voice and powerful lyrics in Warschauer Strasse or at Mauerpark on Sundays. Even though she has started to travel more in the last months, Alice wants to keep it simple and not turn her music into a business.
What do you think? Any street musician we don’t know yet? Let us know!
Have a look at our music portfolio if you want some inspiration for which musician to hire for your next event!