Street musicians look for integrity, not pocket change
“Shall we listen to the street performers and the stories of the people walking along the boulevard?” they sing in “The People We Met on the Street,” a single from their first album, “Little Fanfare,” which was released last year.
“An aged rocker seems tired of playing and misses the stage,” they continue. “A couple go into a club, knowing it’s past their time to go home. A crowd of young people criss-cross in front of the central plaza, behind the shadow of an old man carrying a handcart.”
The foursome formed in 2004. “We were friends and after playing a couple of times at each other’s houses, we thought it would be fun to put together a band,” said guitarist Kim Mok-in, 28.
“We do it by choice because we want to be a part of that great tradition of street musicians who have integrity and self-awareness about who they are as musicians, no matter where they perform,” said accordion player Cha Ji-eun, 28.
“There is this performer in Daehangno who has performed at the same spot for over 19 years,” Cha says. “I get a sense of awe every time I see him. He seems to have a clear sense of purpose, like ‘This is my street and I’m going to play the best I can to entertain these people.’”
The most they’ve ever made in one street performance is $100 or so, but they don’t play for the money. “With the cash we collect from our street performances, we go on trips and see street performers in places like the Hotel de Ville street in France or Copenhagen,” Kim said.