The tradition of busking dates back to Antiquity. This age-old practice has acquired a romantic association and draws people of all backgrounds together into a small crowd to witness a musician singing their heart out for a few pence to a few pounds.
In addition to earning a living with their performances, several now-famous musicians received their starts playing on the streets, such as KT Tunstall, Lorena McKinnit, and Ed Sheeran.
While wandering the streets of my favorite cities, my ears stay alert to the strums of a guitar down the alleys and sidewalks. Though I will never be brave enough, a bucket list item of mine is actually to busk for money! Just once. However, I am not brave and I would probably be paid to stop singing instead of people falling in love with my screeching vocal cords.
While wandering around Glasgow, something made me stop dead in my tracks.
A girl resembling Janis Joplin sang in the shadows of a store across the street. Her voice reverberated off the shop walls and called to every passerby to stop what they were doing that very second. Everyone needed to hear this girl, and it was apparent by the crowd forming, standing in awe with their mouths agape. I was amongst this crowd, standing in shock and awe. This girl is Sonny Casey.
After her performance, my friends and I approached her to say hello, and we could not believe how sweet and kind her heart was!
Want more of this gem? Check out her YouTube channel!
In Cologne, a man’s voice nearly wowed me to tears.
I could hear his angelic voice bouncing off the walls of Cologne Cathedral, and I followed his voice until we located him and his crowds. Soltanto hit notes which I was unaware anyone could hit. I actually swooned a little as he sang. Unfortunately, I was recording a video of him as I swooned, so my weak knees are forever embarrassingly documented.
Love what you hear? Check out Soltanto on Spotify!
I have heard many buskers in my life, however, these two may have changed me.
Finding these gorgeous voices on the streets simply reinforce my belief in seeing a city by walking. Go walk, go listen, and see what new world you can discover.