I have to ask: Do you imagine London markets without music? Port Vell in Barcelona? Lisbon or Paris metro? Jardin de Luxembourg? Sacré-Cœur? Prešeren square, Tromostovje, Čevljarski most in Ljubljana?
I know you can, but I don’t want to. After seeing and experiencing them with awesome melodies and rhythms, that is how I always remember and hear them.
Folk on Brick Lane, salsa and reggae at Barcelona docks, a girl with an acoustic guitar at Terreiro do Paço station, l’accordéon in a metro train, classical piano in one of the pavilions, a high-powered Italian guy on the stairs that lead to the basilique and countless acts at my best known places in Slovenia: from gypsy to country, from African drums to jazz saxophone, from people who have it – that special something, the energy – to the ones that… well not so much.
I have to admit: I’m not a huge fan of Barcelona. It’s a lovely city with fantastic energy, but I prefer Paris or London. But it’s the best city as far as street musicians are concerned. The best, really! All the tourists in Park Güell drove me crazy, but the fact that there was an interesting or excellent musician/band on every single corner captivated me. And I still remember every single one of them: the fado band, the bossa nova guitarist, the blues singer, the crazy hippy electric-guitarist, the trio with the most passionate and charismatic female voice I heard in a while.
Music is what defines the city’s atmosphere for me and leaves the long-lasting impression on my personal vision of the place I’m in (hometown included). And after all the lessons in walking through various, mostly European cities, a fascination with street musicians and their quality has only grown bigger and higher in my soul. I might be biased because of the adorable acoustics of charming streets, but aren’t artists in truth the ones who make them so delightful?