I am a Busker (Street Musician) living in Galway, Ireland. AMA
The new bylaws are very specific. Amplifiers can't be used until 6 pm. So on winter time you can't really play on the street if you're a solo musician...after 6 it gets cold, and many other musicians with their amps will cue.. Another section of the regulation says that you cannot have a crowd surrounding you clapping or singing with ya. Because it can interfere with services to the city centre...if the Garda finds that you have a huge crowd around you will probably get a fee. There are more sections on the new regulations. The thing is that the buskers from Galway would like to keep things as they were always, but the council wants to rule the street. There are many buskers in Galway, from kids to old musicians, and everyone makes different kind of busking. I think that the buskers originally from Galway are the most affected by these new bylaws, because most of them ( I can say this because I live here and I see this people almost every day) are used to busk with amplifiers. It is normal to use amplifiers on a crowded street because without having it people can't hear you. At the moment we are having some meetings in town trying to figure out the best solution to this problem, and we hope that everything will resolve for the Galway 2020 capital of culture.
Do you live off this?
Do you ever get any rudeness/agresiveness thrown at you?
I don't do this for a living. I do this for passion and when I have time. I like music and singing. This is why I do busking. And I like to see people and families with kids having fun and singing with me. I never had any problems so far on the street. I think that Ireland is a country where music is really appreciated, and musicians are respected.
Wow... i never thought busking could be done as a form of hobby like this just for fun. I'll definitely try doing it someday. :)
Also, if i may ask, what's your day job? Just an industry would suffice.
I work in the building and infrastructure industry
What is best pub in Galway?
There are many good pubs in Galway. My favourites are Quays, Buskers, O'Connels. For the traditional music: the Crane. This pub is great if you wanna find the juice of the Irish music straight from old banjos and old violins strings played by Irish old people.
Ok, we bought weed off one of the barmaids few months ago at O'Connels.
You dont rate Tig Coili or Taaffes?
I like this pubs too for traditional music, but this are usually really crowded because are in the city centre. When I go to listen to traditional music I prefer a place with not that much people.
Hey man, I’m Galway for 1 more day before heading back to US for Christmas, and then coming back in January. Where do you busk at? (In front of which shop?)
Also, is there like an established area for each buskar? Or do you all stay out of each others way? Is the amplification law / crowd law going to affect you? Also has the ongoing construction made it harder for you?
I usually busk in front of the AIB bank on shipstreet, at the corner. You can busk where you find a place on the street. There is no rule. The point is that you have to be respectful with the other musicians, and see if there is another musician at less than 100m from you. You can't play if there is another busker that much close. You have to find another spot or ask to the buskers if you can take his/her spot after the set. There the Galway Busker Community that provides recommendations for busking and for a good living with all the buskers. It's harder when there are constructions on the streets, but this happened also last year before Christmas, so we are used to it. Of course it is more difficult to find a spot
What's Peru like?
Right now it might be different. I moved from Peru to live in Italy when I was a child with parents. I just got back 2 times to see my country. I hope to be back soon to have a proper visit
Hi. Ex-full time busker here. Now a music teacher in schools & music lecturer in uni. Does the reduced use of cash effect your takings? Do you have a card reader? I've got zero regrets about busking. It is fantastic performance practice, teaches you voice projection & the value of hard work. The money gives you immediate feedback on how well you're doing. All the best, and may all your drops be paper money!
Thanks man! I don't do this for a living so I don't bother too much having a card reader. But it would be a good idea for a full time Busker! I also think that busking is a great way to train your voice. I studied singing in Italy and busking is the best way for me to sing feeling free, you know what I mean!
How’s the lifestyle? Pay?
Depends on what do you do for busking. I usually play because I like singing. I don't do this for a living. I play 1h a day mostly and some times you can make 30..40€. but Everytime is different. Sometimes you can make 10 or less
Why’d you choose to live in Ireland? Do they have a good Busker scene there?
One of my small dreams was to busk on Grafton Street in Dublin. But then I found Galway. And I really like it here so far. And yes, everyday lots of tourist on the street. So its good for Buskers here
Have you met the Galway Girl?
You can easily meet her. The original song was written about Joyce. She sings in the Crane bar every Saturday at 6.30pm.
I didn't know this, but I think I've seen her!
How hard was it to move to Ireland and find work there?
I'm a European citizen, because I moved from Peru to Italy when I was a child with my parents. It was not difficult to move to Ireland afterwards and to find a job. The most difficult thing here is to find a new "family" that I can call friends. Regarding the work, Ireland is a country where you are appreciated if you can really do the job well done. The people is very respectful and and they are open with foreigners
I played cello for years, hoping I could busk. Not for the money but because I love playing and like when people enjoy it. But I never believed I was good enough, and I was sure someone would harm my cello.
What sign helped you believe you were good enough?
Hi thanks for this question.
Think about the time. There will be a day when you'll say to yourself "what if I tried that thing, what if I spoke to that person, what if I booked that trip...". Time never comes back. My suggestion is: if there is one thing that you think may be good for you, just do it. So at least you could say I tried. Once you have tried, you will learn that probably your limits are to be tested and they are not that hard to face. Hope this can help.
What's the best day you've had busking? Not necessarily money related, but just any day you specifically remember as a good one.
The best day that I remember was when someone from the crowd instead of tips, he gave me a hamburger. That made my day, I was so hungry! Another great day was when I busked with a French violinist: we had a really huge crowd around us, I was sooooo happy!
Are you from Ireland?
I'm originally from Perù and I moved to Ireland last year on July 2018.
What are some unspoken rules that exist between buskers?
Hi thanks for the question. If you find a spot to busk, be sure that there are no other Buskers within 100m. That's rule number one because many buskers use amplifiers and others they don't. So you don't have to be too loud for solo acoustic musicians. You can reserve a spot after a Busker set only if you talk to that same Busker during his set, not before. Let's say you find a Busker at 1pm at the bar having a coffee and he tells you that he is going to busk at 2. You can't ask him/her to reserve the spot after him/her for you, because many others could do the same, and it would be a mess.
Ah! Don't sing more than once the forbidden songs in one set!
Happened to be listening to "Falling Slowly" right when I found this AmA.
How is the busker community? Do y'all have each other's backs, or is it competitive?
Galway Busker Community is really a strong community. We have meetings when we need. It is mostly formed by the Buskers original from Galway, and most of theme busk in Galway since more than 5 years. In Dublin most of the buskers that I met on Grafton Street are young Buskers, but I don't know if they have a community as the one in Galway. But they are for sure a great team of young artists, with energy!
Is “Once” yours favorite movie?
Dunnow if it's a movie, but Once is one of my favorite songs by Liam Gallagher
Any inspirational musicians that made you want to busk? Hearing that you mentioned the famous Grafton street I'm wondering if you're a big fan of Glen Hansard.
Hi and thanks for the question. Music is my greatest passion and few years ago I started also a singing course in Italy before moving to Ireland. The first time I came to Ireland was 3 years ago, and I went for a solo trip to know the country, the people landscapes and music! One day I went to Dublin, and I saw many Buskers on that street. After a few minutes walking on Grafton Street I said to myself: "one day I wanna be here singing with my amp and my guitar. I know I can do this". So the next year, I made the choice to start this adventure with this in my mind " busk on Grafton Street ". When I started the adventure I started working in many different places, far from Dublin, in a coffee bar, then in a farm with animals. Im so glad I had the opportunity to explore a different place from home and to meet new people. To travel is a great way not only to see other places but also to explore your soul. After 3 months in Ireland I managed to busk in grafton street with no amp and just the guitar. I was so happy 😭! I realized my small dream! Right now I'm living in Galway with a full-time job and I busk when I can after work and mostly on the weekends. I don't busk for a living, I do this because music is my passion and I love singing. I don't know Glen Hansard unfortunately, I assume is a Busker as well. But I didn't really know the busking world before coming to Ireland, and I found out that for me is a way to express myself doing what I like most, singing.
As a propective busker, do you have any advice for someone starting out? How many songs does one need to know? Is singing typically better received than instrumentals? Is there any etiquette one ought to follow in order to not be unduly disruptive as a busker?
Hi thanks for the question. I started with 10... 15 songs to play in a set of 1 hour. You can use those songs and repeat them if you need. You can do like this when you're starting. People will appreciate a musician whether is a singer or an instrumentalist...just have passion for what you do! If you use an amp don't be too loud. If you re about to start busking, talk with the other Buskers that have more experience than you, know them, and be respectful. Buskers have many different paths in their life
What do you think of that old footage of Ed Sheeran busking before he was famous? Like, what's your relationship with the idea?
Thanks for this question. When I saw that picture I tried to find the same spot on shopstreet. That spot is in the corner of a shop where none of the buskers now plays because is not really a good place for busking. I think that there are many good singers or artists on the street, what made the difference for Ed Sheeran was hardwork and passion with no limits, keep doing what you like the most of the time of your life. Time is fundamental, the most time you spend for something the more you become an expert or a professional on that field. I think that many of the young Buskers that I see on the street are like aspiring ad sheerans... I have the idea that somehow busking in the street can help to became famous, but when I listened for the first time an Ed Sheeran song, even in the second album, I didn't know he was a Busker before. I don even know if he busked only for a short period or longer. It's what you do on the background, at home, in your room, at your desk, with a pen, a blank paper and your guitar, what makes the difference.
Whats your thoughts in Kai Cafe in Galway?
I haven't been there yet, but I will try now!
I saw a ton of you guys on Key? Street when I was there this spring and you all sounded lovely
two questions -
do you play Galway races? do you need a bassist?
I've never been to the Galway races, I don't really like games where you use animals to pleasure yourself. I don't need a bassist for now!
What is busking culture like in Peru? Are there any particular instruments that are more common in Peru than in Ireland?
The "quena" is a traditional instrument in Peru. It is like a flute But I'm not really sure how is the busking in Perù. I moved to Italy with my parents when I was I child.
Do you feel like you could be successful busking in any city? Even if it’s a city without many (if any) other performers.
Yes I do. But I should quit my job and be a full-time Busker. And have my mind and strength only focused on busking. But at the time I can't quit my full-time job. So I do busking whenever I can afterwork and on the weekends. But I have a plan for the music career....hope it will work!
How much do you make in a day and if you could pick another career path would you?
Well I don't busk for a living. I busk because music is my passion a I like singing. I enjoy the street with families and kids singing with the songs that I sing. I do this afterwork and on the weekends! When I busk I spend usually 1 hour and 30, but Everytime is different, you can make 30/40€ or less than 10, one day I also had a burger!
Have you found your pretty little girl?
Ahah! Would be cool to find the "pretty little girl" busking!
What does your set list look like. What are some of your favorite songs to perform?
I have a list of 50 songs I think. I like to play Beatles, oasis, green day, Ed Sheeran... Pop/rock I'd say. One of my favorite songs to play Hey There Delilah
Hey! I'm a trumpet player and I busk sometimes for fun to raise money for my city's youth orchestra.
Do people who are drunk ever come up and want to touch your instrument / equipment?
Have you ever been to america?
When you sleep, in slumber, do you remember your dreams, and if so, what do you dream?
Sometimes that can happen, mostly during evening hours. Just one time happened to me, with an old lady drunk falling into my guitar case... But nothing really bad. It was just that time. Yes I have some family in America!
Well, I make very strange dreams. The last time I was talking to a creature of the ocean, all blue with tentacles and pink huge lips and IT was saying "I am the king here" 😅
Do you play the fiddle in an irish band?
I don't know how to play the fiddle unfortunately, but I think it sounds amazing! I listened to many musicians playing the fiddle, and they're great
How many tunes do you use before you recycle? What techniques do you have to have a successful day?
Well, after a while you have an amount of tunes that are enough to play for 2 hours. After 2 hours I change spot and I start with the same songs. Regarding money, if you start in your guitar case with some coins or notes people give you more tips. I experimented this and it really works. Talking about the crowd around you, it's hard to become confident and interact with people, like talk to the crowd and let them know who you are and a bit of your story, between the songs that you sing. The more confident you are on this, the more successful you can be!
How do you feel about people hitting on you -- trying to chat you up, ask for your phone number, flirting...?
That doesn't happen to me my friend! For now
What's the biggest news story in Peru at the moment?
Sorry,but I moved to Italy when I was a child with my parents. I have my best friends that are from Italy.
Have you ever sung a Slipknot song? If not have you ever decided to sing a song made by any other metal bands? If yes, what songs and what did people think? (Acoustic songs counts if they're made by a metal band).
Have a nice day.
I'm sorry I never tried to sing a metal song in an acoustic version, but I might give it a try. Which one of Slipknot do you think sounds good in an acoustic version?
Ever thought about going to where money is? Like Seattle?
I didn't know Seattle was good for busking. I started busking because music and singing is my passion, so ai don't do this for a living. I busk on the street when I have time after work and on the weekends. I like to spend some time on the street and see families and kids having fun and singing with me. I hope some day that busking can help me with my career as a musician.
Why do you think this is worthy of an AMA?
When I wanted to be a Busker I was looking for opinions from other Buskers. I thought it can be helpful for someone.
I have a quite specific question. How do you think the new Galway City bylaws relating to street performances and buskers are going to effect your work when they come into effect in January?
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