Upon alighting from the tram of Melbourne City, Australia along Bourke Street, my entourage of 7 were captivated by an amplified, haunting yet soothing rendition of 'Amazing Grace' last December in the days of Christmas festive season. We listened intensely and watched the street performance for about half an hour where a South American native-looking man played the bamboo pipe-flute of the Andes at the walkway next to the GPO. During his break, I asked him "You Peruvian?", "Bolivian!" came the short and prompt reply.
The flutist's renditions were accompanied by amplification of effects and bass from his rhythm maker; thus making his music absolutely melodious. We were mesmerized. His CDs marked "FJF Cubas" were sold at A$20 each; we bought one. On a small table he placed a traditional Andean girl-toy which would bow if anybody were to throw coins into a little basket in front of the toy.
The Bolivian's CD cover front and back.
The GPO is a 3-storey shopping landmark named Bourke
Street Mall for curious tourists and fascinated shoppers.This band of two talented performers displayed colourful notice boards to tell listeners of their wide travels all over the world. The pair of travelling minstrels played masterfully violin, drums, guitar, keyboard and harmonica. A pair of drunkard vagabonds sat on the floor portraying to be keen fans, much to the chagrin of the duo. The one dressed up as Santa Claus was a nuisance. Eventually he laid on the floor unconscious, with his bottle of unfinished liquor flowing all over. I aimed at him with my camera but was stopped by some vigilante firemen who tried to resuscitate him.
The fire trucks and their crew were offering free rides to little children in a friendly promotion of their community service.
George Kamikawa上川 is a remarkable street performer with his own distinctive style. He is a Japanese ethnically.
He played the unique lap slide guitar dexterously and loudly with the help of powerful amplification. His feet were seen busy hitting pedals for electronic drums. His performance attracted many onlookers who were mainly Asian tourists; as it was rare to see an Asian artiste playing the lap slide guitar.
An Asian lady was seen video-recording Kamikawa's
performance with her SS Galaxy Note 3.George claimed that he hailed from Melbourne and stayed all his life in the Victoria state. He is a gentle, humble and handsome man, wearing his Australian cowboy hat throughout his show time. Though remains an Asian, George is very Australian bred and speaks an uncanny Australian accent.
This lone punk-looking artiste performed at
the back of queen Victoria Market. He had
some followers alright. The guy with a back pack
seemed to be counting money collected from
the guitar case on his behalf.
Another Duo performers putting up their
best to attract onlookers.This little violinist girl played simple Christmas melodies skilfully. She attracted donations of A$1 or 2 (coins) mainly from kind hearted old ladies and kids. Guess her parents or guardian were around but in hiding as she was too young to peddle for income. There were no less than 6 individuals or bands performed to earn their upkeep along both sides of Bourke Street, Melbourne. It seemed to me that they had a tacit agreement among themselves that each team or individual would take turns to perform about half an hour (if they're positioned too close with each other), since they had equipped their instruments with strong sound systems. Some of them were rather boisterous.
We see much of this act in Bukit Bintang Road in
Kuala Lumpur. She'd stay motionless
for hours just to earn some dimes. Poor lady.This stout municipal worker is not a street performer. He came sat next to me on a bench for a break of his hectic work. I asked if I could take a picture of his tattoo on his arm. He happily obliged. It was distinctively Maoris by its design.
"So you're a Kiwi? (New Zealander)" I asked brusquely. "Oh yeah, mate!" Though he's a Maori but he had some White man's features. "Yes, my mother is a White lady." He began his day at 6am by setting up metal barriers along the road for a pedestrian parade (University graduation parade - 1 and a half km) and dismantling them at late morning when the parade was over.
Alan CY Kok