Saturday, April 06, 2013

· In Which I Am A Busker, I Guess ·

Hullo, me hearties.

I just got home after busking on the streets of my city Curitiba, something I started shyly to do a couple of weeks ago, and I am fascinated by what my hurdy-gurdy is doing for me. This instrument literally took me out of my private world and tossed me into the pedestrian life, which I feared for all these years. I am slowly discovering what sharing music really means... And I finally found a context in which "live performance" doesn't irk me so.

As I prepare to perform an acoustic concert next week, I was trying out some traditional tunes to expand my repertoire on the hurdy-gurdy, so I decided that it would be at least interesting to rehearse out in the open.  I won't lie: it still frightens me to think about exposing myself with an instrument like this. My mother thinks someone might pass by, slap me on the face and take it away from me. Nonetheless, I put on a nice shirt, put my instrument on the bag and took the bus downtown. I could never imagine such a day would be possible! The fine weather gave me lots of shade, and the passing folk were instantly enchanted by the sound of such a queer-looking thing. A mother and her children offered me hand-picked flowers. An elderly man recognized "O Cego Andante" as I was playing, and began to cry. A young man told me the people from the luthier-course of UFPR are endeavouring to build a hurdy-gurdy themselves. A couple bought CDs and gave me chocolate. A tiny boy would not leave my side, asking if I could build him a "toy" like mine. A turkish man talked long to me about Sephardic music. And on the course of these hours, little crowds formed around me, and I dried out my throath telling them a bit about the history of the hurdy-gurdy, Sephardic musical culture and traditions from Europe. I am making enough money to release my new album, all coming from good-hearted people who support their independent artist with whatever they can. It is an astounding thing, and I'm not quite sure I understand fully what I have just experienced this afternoon. I am somewhere on Youtube, a man already told me. And I am dying to see all the photos people took with me.

(Edit: here is the video, captured by Célio Borba)

Music is therapy for me; always was, and always will be. For all these years working with music, I guess the missing part of the entire healing process was exactly this: interaction. Sharing music, in any way possible. I feel confident and happy; and playing a part, however small, in keeping ancient traditions alive is truly a bliss.  I hope things continue to flow like this, and Through Waves finds at last a place in my town.

(photographs by Veronica Wesolowski Bitner and Úrsula Wesolowski)