Valdosta Daily Times

September 29, 2013

Street Musicians of Europe

David and Kay Scott
Special to the Times

- — One of the pleasures of traveling through Europe is the frequent encounters with street musicians. Young and old performers play instruments and sing on corners and pedestrian streets, in railroad station passageways, outside restaurants and stores, and in parks throughout Europe. The best time to catch them is on summer weekends, but in favorable weather they are likely to be encountered on any day of the week.

Musicians sometimes play in small groups, while others perform individually. Vocalists may sing in their native language, although many use English, especially when performing popular U.S. songs. In Finland, a middle-age man from Estonia was playing guitar while singing John Fogerty’s “Bad Moon Rising” in English.

Talent varies from marginal to very good, but there is always enjoyment in watching the performers display their musical abilities in public.

Good musicians, especially those who are enthusiastic and have a flair for entertaining, frequently attract a crowd of listeners who linger while musicians with lesser talent often perform without an audience.  

Performers solicit monetary tips from listeners by placing an overturned hat or empty musical case on the ground nearby. These sometimes contain quite a number of coins and even a few bills, but you wonder if the performers may have primed the pump with some of their own money in order to stimulate public offerings. Tips are sometimes supplemented by musicians who sell their own CDs.

Europe’s street musicians may not compare to its castles, river cruises, and food, but they certainly add to the enjoyment of a visit.

    

David and Kay Scott reside in Valdosta and are authors of “Complete Guide to the National Park Lodges” (Globe Pequot).