Monday, April 16, 2007

The Old Busker

[My post the other day about Joshua Bell's one-time morning busking gig in a Washington DC metro brought back some old memories.]

[This could have been written by Ichabod Rain, an alter-ego who dwells in the Third Galaxy, where he is reputed to have been an agent of the Alien Veggies, something which I seriously doubt.]

I'm an old busker and a minstrel of magical tunes, I've sung my songs in the all kinds of places, in bars, on street corners, hilltops, empty churches, forest clearings and by waterfalls and ponds where water birds swam enchantingly.

What I enjoy most about music is the silence -- the soft silence in which the music continues when the song has ended. That is why I have a certain ambivalence about applause...

Some years ago, I was on vacation in Tunis with my Sunflower Woman.

Back then, I used take my octave guitar with me whereever I travelled. With me, having something to play on is like those people who have to have their knitting with them.

The guitar was a cute little six string instrument about the size of a ukelele. It tunes an octave above normal guitar pitch. It sounds okay if you stick to folk chords and don't go too far p the neck.

I was sitting on the patio by the hotel, fiddling with the thing, maybe singing a song or two, and a couple of American girls on vacation approached me. In the conversation which followed, it turned out that they thought I was the member of some band. I suppose I had been playing "Jeremiah" a song which could easily be mistaken for something REM might do.

Whaever I had been playing, what followed was kind of amusing. Apparently they liked the music and it must have sounded "professional" for they assumed that I was from some band.

It was quite difficult to convince them otherwise and that I wasn't putting them on. But then there are musicians who play solo, so, what records had I made?
The answer was -- and still is -- none.

When I finally convinced them of that, they completely lost interest and went away.

Of course I can't know their complete motivation or the reason for the loss of interest. However, I can reasonably assume that they thought had run into a famous person, a celebrity, and had the chance of bath in the glow of stardom.

Well, that was just too bad for them, because I am a star and if they had taken the time to listen they would have learned something for my songs are distilled from moonlight and sunshine, the sorrow of the evening and the joy of the morning.

As a matter of fact, I tend to fly away when I an playing and I once composed a little song about it:

I don't play for money and I don't play for applause.
I don't play to get pretty women, or to sell you any cause.
I play because I love to sing and the feeling that it brings.

O, to sail among the chords, on a sweet melody!
If you'd like to fly, why not try to fly away...
Fly away across the sea and be free

Please don't bang the rhythmn with a big, bad booming drum!
All that stupid noise makes my bowels run!
The angry and violent is not my kind of fun..!

O, to sail among the chords, on a sweet melody...

Flying's not that easy without an angel's wings.
I'm no where near an angel, but I sure do love to sing
And when I'm singing I feel those angel wings

O, to sail among the chords, on a sweet melody...

A world without music couold never appeal to me,
Not even if you told me I could live eternally.
With out that rhythmn feeling, I'd be dead already!

O, to sail among the chords, on a sweet melody!...

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