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Singer-Songwriter/Professional Street Performer/Campaigner/Wandering Minstrel

6 Comments on "Paypal Donation Now Available!"

  • In a spirit of human generosity I’ve started reaching out to the Romanian ‘Gypsy’ Community in my ‘busking’ locality. I’ve begun by offering to give ‘guitar’ lessons to a young female ‘Roma’ Big Issue Seller in Stratford upon Avon.

    She gave me a vocal renditon of the Theme from the Titanic tune
    ‘ My Heart Will Go On ‘ whilst returning home on the train last month and I was so impressed that I suggested she start busking herself, initially on the ‘less’ popular spots, til she grew in confidence, and then further afield, as a means of boosting her Big Issue income.

    I’m well aware that the Romanian Community, particularly the relatively recent presence of ‘Roma’ Street Musicans in our towns and cities is less than popular with many Buskers out there. I myself have had my fair share of ‘negative’ experiences; for example, of being ‘drowned’ out by loud Trumpeters, surrounded in a ‘pincer’ movement by ‘family’ member Accordianists in a blatant ‘cynical’ attempt to drive me from spots, and attemptedly physically overwhelmed by a 7 piece Marachi Brass Band on a Xmas Market.

    However, despite these ‘bad’ experiences, I remain steadfast in refusing to be seduced by any kind of ‘generalised’ hate directed towards this community, nor any aggresive ‘racial’ prejudice and discrimination towards it. No like all human groupings, and cultural formations, the ‘reality’ is you will find ‘good’ and ‘bad’ amongst all such ‘ Human ‘ communities.

    For example, in contrast to the ‘Hustlers’ I’m met, some of the best Street Musicans I’ve come across have been Roma Accordianists, a couple of which I hope to be working with on a CD project of mine in the near future. I love the Accordian, and at one point owned one myself, a fine Honer instrument, which I consequently sold ( at a ‘fair’ price ) to one young Gypsy in need of one a few years ago in Birmingham.

    So yes, I’m ‘reaching out’ , in fact I’m not only going to teach this young Gypsy Girl the basic accompaniment techniques to the ‘easy’ stuff, the Pop/Showtime pieces etc, my ‘ambitons’ are growing, they’re ‘loftier’ every day, no!, I’m pulling out the Joni Mitchell tunes, in fact one of my all time favourites from the album ‘Hejira’, that sultry classic of singer-songwriter pop poetry that is ‘Amelia’!.

    One lesson I’ve learned for success as a ‘jobbing’ Street Performer over the last 3 or so years in places like Stratford upon Avon and Birmingham is ‘ Give Generously! ‘.

  • Byetheway one of the great Self Discoveries I’ve made in offering to help this girl out with developing a few ‘basic’ guitar playing skills is that it is possible to do this kind of thing in a genuinely ‘self-fulfilling’, mutually ‘self-satisfying’ way, rather than a one-way-street ‘self -sacrificing’ way as is often the case.

    It really does demand little, if anything at all from me, to simply pass on one or two chord shapes and some common strum patterns, and ok perhaps a little bit of ‘moral’ encouragement, the rest is down to her.

  • Its 6 or 7 weeks now since listening to this young Gypsy girls rendition of the ‘Theme from the Titanic’ on the train back home to Birmingham from Stratford upon Avon. And the ‘reality’ is that I’ve neither seen nor heard from her since, except in truth for a few distant sightings in the town at the beginning and end of the day and whilst passing through.

    I’m now finally thinking that despite my generous offer last month, to teach this ‘charming’ young girl some basic ‘back-up’ acoustic guitar, in response to hearing her not too bad, potentially extremely charming voice, that the deal is off, yes its over!.

  • You know if we are going to succeed as Street Artists and Performers in this country, in establishing a ‘true’ Minstrelsy across this land, thoughout Europe, and beyond, then we’ve got to dig deep inside our ‘dark’ sides and ‘root’ out the the racism, shed the ‘disquised’ sadism, that fear of the other!

    • That ‘irrational’ fear of the other!…

      • *Note (above)
        When I use the collective known ‘we’ referring to Buskers ( above ), I mean all the actual Street Performers based on my experience I deem ‘guilty’ of such ‘negative’ behaviour. I also don’t speak here as a member of Streetslive or Jonny Walkers ASAP, I don’t belong to either, but am aware of the values and vision of its founder and ‘perhaps’ some of his associates.

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