buskers banging


Edmonton has some of the strangest buskers ever. And by strange I mean bad. I know because I have seen every single busker. There are five of them, plus or minus one crazy lady. This lady stands in light rail stations and sings. But she also sings on the trains, or when she's walking downtown, or in the lobby of the downtown library. I don't know for sure that she's after cash, but people drop coins if she's stationary. She's Chinese and is always "singing" tunes that are either in jibberish or Chinese (I can't tell). These are done in traditional East Asian pentatonic style. Imagine, if you will, Björk, but Chinese. Yes, it's that wacky. Yes, it's that annoying. Yes, it's that bad.

This lady's fellow countryman sits to play his Erhu. (As of yet they have not teamed up to busk). I'm not a particular fan of this music, but it's passable. His case is open and he also apparently sells burned cds of his own music. He has humbly called these "Songs of Paradise, vol. 1" and "Sounds of Paradise, vol. 2". Not sure who the marketer there is that didn't inform him that "song" and "sound" are not exactly equivalents. He seems to do well for himself.

There's this really tall, youngish lady who is surprisingly well-groomed for a busker. She plays the guitar and sings. Very traditional. She's the best musician of all the buskers.

There's another woman who plays the guitar and sings, but poorly. She sometimes mixes it up and goes out with a keyboard or a portable xylophone. She looks downtrodden, as all buskers really should. She also looks a little crazy in that sort of the-only-job-I-can-get-in-a-market-that-is-paying-nearly -twenty-bucks-an-hour-in-fast-food-is-creative-spectacle-based-begging way. Her hair is wild, her eyes don't quite seem to focus and her clothing is tattered. If she only had musical skills, she'd be the perfect busker.

I have saved my favourite street musician for last, though. He stands in his fur-trimmed elf vest and plays a tuba. Yep...full on tuba. I've never seen someone solo on a tuba for cash before. He's pretty good, though I must admit my tuba-judging skills are iffy. He's the only guy who I give money too. I feel he deserves it, for his quirkiness if nothing else.


Katya said...

How do you know that "Songs of Paradise, vol. 2" and "Sounds of Paradise, vol. 1" don't exist, hmm? (Honestly, what are they teaching you in library science school?)

Katya said...

Or maybe they're both volumes of the "Paradise" series, and volume 1 is titled "Songs" and volume 2 is titled "Sounds."

(whokzs - best verification word I've seen in a long time)

alea said...

You're right. I don't have evidence to the contrary. I cannot disprove your point. Though, it seems odd that he'd have enough Erhu music for three or four full albums.

Your question highlights the fact that yes, I am not only information illiterate, I am an information moron.

Katya said...

No, my question highlights the fact that I catalogue for 14 hours a week, so I spend a fair amount of time pondering such weighty matters. :)

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