Busking Explored with CBC Radio3 Documentary Featuring Interview with Violinist.com member Rhiannon Nachbaur

May 17, 2010, 12:34 PM ·

Hey, cool news:  CBC Radio 3 Interviewed me for my input as a busker.  They had read my article about it here: http://www.fiddleheads.ca/writings/busk_or_bust.html

http://www.cbc.ca/radio3/podcasts/extendedplay/CBCR3EP_2010-05-11.mp3  (my part comes in around 14:45, near halfway-- and some of the music they use is me playing)

Note the interviewer made an error in my introduction: she said I was a singer and said I live in Nelson, whereas I live in Salmon Arm/ Canoe.  Oh well, you can quote me as saying I was misquoted. 

In any case, t's an interesting documentary/show and I am glad they took the stance of supporting busking.  Enjoy!



May 18, 2010 at 04:01 AM ·

hello Rhiannon, from a fellow Canadian busker! I busk the light rail transit stations in Calgary. Need a police check and a city transit licence for a total of $55. I do 30's & 40's jazz type standards...When You're Smilin', Sunny Side of the Street, Stardust, Summer time, Fly Me to the Moon...that type of thing. I do better on violin than the average loud guitar strummer. Sometimes when I get a little down about my playing, all I have to do is go out busking and people tell me "that's beautiful...What beautiful music...etc. Makes me feel much better. Maybe we'll run into each other on the street sometime somewhere.

May 19, 2010 at 12:51 AM ·

rhiannon, thank you for the interesting audio clip.   it opens up my ears to another facet of violin performing and the problem with busking. 

here is an ice breaker question to start:)...judging from just one response so far from this forum, i wonder it is a reflection of the attitude toward busking musicians from musicians who perform or work off the street?   in your days, did your fellow ex-colleagues look at you as if you had gone off to the far far end?  yup, we've lost her...

on this forum, once in while, even right now i think, people discuss about performance affected by anxiety.   is it easier for you to busk in front of people 99% of whom can care less about your presence or inside a hall where 99% are paying close attention?   do you think for those with unresolved anxiety busking may be tried to work out the nerves?

clearly busking shouldn't be a crime, but you must agree that there is the right time and place for the right thing, right? :)   i know if i scream out of my bedroom window at night unprovoked when the neighborhood is asleep, my good neighbors will become bad.  if i don't have the common sense, then some legislation should be in place.  but i think a total ban is ridiculous.

what they should ban is this: when idling at a red light, you shall not turn up the volume of your 36 speakers in an attempt to rupture my eardrums:)

May 19, 2010 at 04:58 AM ·

Thanks for the interesting blog. I never knew there are so many different rules on busking on different cities. I was just about to experiment with busking this summer, maybe I should check the city ordinance on busking :) 

I think they should make a general rule about any noise over certain decibel not busking itself. and I can see why some strategic places require license and schedule busker that's just competition. It's fair as long as there are always places where different level of buskers can perform.

May 19, 2010 at 05:23 AM ·

That was a really good interview, Rhiannon.  I really liked hearing your thoughts on busking.  I've always secretly wanted to try it but I've never just gone and done it.  I mentioned one time that I was tempted to try it and some members of my family told me not to, they acted like it was the same as begging.  I really think it's a legitimate performance venue but that stigma has made me too nervous to try it.  Well now I've made up my mind.  I'm going to prepare a selection of music to play so I have a kind of program and I'm going to forget about what other people might think and go do it this summer, at least once so I can lose my self-consciousness.  Thank you!

May 19, 2010 at 07:24 AM ·

I have this desire inside me to play my violin in the streets/in the park etc but I would not want any money to be given to me, I'd do it just when I have some spare time as I love playing my violin and would be happy if anybody else enjoyed listening to me....

so strictly speaking I can't say 'I'm going busking' if I don't put out my 'coin/money receiver' am I?

and if I play not wanting a donation am I going to upset anyone? would people still assume I would like a donation and not know where to put it as there is NO collection box?

would I 'step on the toes' of ' real buskers by not wanting any donations as I might change people's perceptions? I don't know if I am explaining myself well but the least I'd want to do is upset anyone......

May 19, 2010 at 02:45 PM ·

I can understand a civil / municiple authority concerned about someone causing a distraction while an acomplice uses it to engage in ill gotten gains, and so a permit plus any taxes which go for keeping peace and order on the streets as well as having the performer (busker, street performer, ect.) I.D. to keep ill acts from happening.  But busking goes back to the traveling minstruals and troupes.  And it is sharing something wonderful with people... our human arts.  We can listen to radios or cds (even vinyl records) but I prefer experiencing music via live performance!

I would also be concerned about the busker's safety.  If someone was going to target the busker for a robbery, or someone feeling like a hot shot was going to acaust/assult the busker (as what happens to some homeless people) could law enforcement officers respond quick enough or any other issues of security.

May 19, 2010 at 05:05 PM ·

Hi, Interesting!  I myself would be too shy to busk and would feel as if I was imposing myself in other people's lives. 

In my opinion though, busking is find and fun to hear when the musicians play reasonably well and not too loud.

(When people go to a rock show or to see a 100 musician's symphony orchestra, they know it will sound very loud. But one shouldn't impose a loud sound, even if beautiful to people who didn't ask for it directly)  In the video of Bell, he played very well but he played as if it was in a large concert hall... (the sound was soo loud than I couldn't have carried a conversation with someone near Bell if I had been there...) This can be an "agression" for those who don't like classical music.  One must always be careful to not impose something to someone who doesn't necessarely have the same passion.  But if it is done, mildly, not too loud and just to create a little ambiance (as a backgroud music), then I don't see any problem and find it's fun for the listeners.    Just that I don't find it appropriate to play the same repertoire and loudness in a busking situation than in Carnagie Hall... ; )   

Good luck!


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