Busking: Busking is the practice of performing music, dance, juggling, magic, and similar activities in public places to entertain passersby and solicit tips. People engaging in this practice are called buskers. Busking is a British term used in many areas of the English-speaking world and in former British territories. In the United States, buskers are more often called street performers or street musicians. Some buskers only work part time, while others make a full time living performing on the streets…. Read more on Wikipedia
I had a Sitar gig last night and by the time it ended, it was past midnight and it was also raining. I stood outside the Queen subway station, waiting for the streetcar (tram) for almost 20 minutes, not quite enjoying the drizzle. My Sitar was tucked away safely under some large window frame.
3 moderately drunk white boys arrived at the streetcar stop and looked curiously at my Sitar bag. It was well past midnight on Friday, so I wasn’t surprised at all.
“Hey, what is that?”
“Its a Sitar”, I said non-enthusiastically. I get this question often.
“Woooowh! I never thought I would see a Sitar for real!”
And then they spent next 5 minutes asking me questions about the instrument. I was surprised that they knew so much already. I promised to show them how it looked like once we were in the streetcar.
“You must play it too”, he said
“HUH ??”, sounded like a crazy idea to me.
“Yea man, and I will pass my hat around. You can get your bus money back!” (he took off his hat to show me how)
So we got into the streetcar, full of sweet party people (drunk people are usually fun). The guys couldn’t wait to see how a sitar looked and they oohed and aahed when i took it out of the bag. Most of what I played wasn’t legible since it was quite noisy around but I think they liked it anyway. After I was done, there was some clapping and the guy took his hat off and passed it around.
Nobody put any money in it, haha.
The guy was disappointed more than me. I guess he didn’t want me to be a musician who doesn’t get tips after he plays. Then the sweetest thing happened. His buddy put in a dollar. And they passed the hat to me.
“Here!, Great show!”
And folks, that’s how I earned my first dollar on the street playing music.