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Street music whilst on holiday

Posted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:58 pm
by wirralaccordion
If you were to consider a place to go for holiday on the basis of being able to hear some accordion music in the streets I guess you would immediately think of Paris.
Would there be any other venues where you would expect to hear some accordion music whilst dining al fresco. It might seem strange to book a holiday location on this basis but I think I might be inclined to do just that! What about others and where would you go for such a unique experience?
P.S. I don't know of any such venues in England!

Re: Street music whilst on holiday

Posted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 9:38 pm
by losthobos
Whilst in Avignon thirty years ago I sat and ate in the main was often frequented by accordionists 'playing the tables'...some real showmen who would dance the length of the plaza before going round with the hat.....the lunchtime was more often played by local gypsy combos
Funnily enough I went to castelfidardo a few years back and didn't hear an accordion played anywhere other than in showrooms...think there is a curfew...saw a good opera at the local church which pissed over the karaoke I'd have had to endure had I been at home 😉

Re: Street music whilst on holiday

Posted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:07 pm
by JerryPH
Prague in the Czech republic, often saw accordionists with other instruments out in the streets in the "Old Prague" section. Munich Germany, especially in the fall (September-November) you can also see a lot of street accordionists there. Downtown of Vienna Austria and a lot of the parts on weekends during the summer, there were a couple that I saw when there back in 2013, but they were far more rare.

Re: Street music whilst on holiday

Posted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:14 am
by Stephen Hawkins
An interesting subject, for sure, but one with some obvious drawbacks.

It would be upsetting to travel a great distance, only to find that the music on offer is not to your taste. I am also wary of people who coerce or otherwise place an implied obligation on anyone in earshot of them to stump up cash.

When holidaying in the UK, I always look for Folk Clubs in the region I am thinking of visiting, then message or email the club for further details. More often than not, the answers I receive far exceed my expectations. Brenda & I have been invited to people's homes, where we have enjoyed impromptu "gigs" with some very colourful and pleasant individuals. On one occasion (as the Folk Club would not be open during our visit) some of its members arranged to meet in the very large seaside home of their club leader. That was a very pleasant and memorable afternoon, and I am still in touch with some of those lovely people.

Apart from a few drinks and a bit of petrol, none of my visits have cost me a single penny. Nobody has waved a hat in my face, and all that was expected of me was that I joined in with my own little musical contribution. Life is what you make it.

Kind Regards,


Re: Street music whilst on holiday

Posted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:35 am
by losthobos
Just to clarify...if a man should give up his kudos in society and choose to study/play an instrument for a living perhaps don't look down on them....they have no pension, no holiday pay, no security...but have instead taken the time to hone a skill to professional level in a trade that rarely sees full pay... the accordionist i met in Avignon was one of these people...taught accordion in the day and played each evening for an hour and put on a west end worthy show...worth dropping a few franc too for sure.
As to the gypsy players in France be aware they are second class citizens and cannot get 'real' jobs...poverty is not a crime...if entertain you and you can help them then why not.
The opera i attended in castelfidardo was a free event where wine and simple food was freely shared...the warmth of the people was touching...
Human nature itself is kind, i have dancing, musician, cycling, skateboarding friends all over the uk/europe who invite me to stay and share time...and likewise these people are welcome at mine....nothing unique to folk clubs there
Love All Serve All...

Re: Street music whilst on holiday

Posted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:13 am
by Corsaire
France has become rather regulating when it comes to street music and often requires a permit to play if you don't want to be moved on by the police.
Our group play in Saint Malo every Thursday evening during the summer and every week, we receive our permission to play (which we have to have with us) just in case there is a control. It's a shame as it can produce some superb talent. However, it's possible that some areas are more controlled than others - perhaps it depends on the local administration.

You can hear some wonderful music in the Paris metro - I remember listening to some South American flute music (which the French love) and it gave me goose pimples it was so good. I've seen violin and 'cello students playing for their supper - such talent, who can refuse them ? Conversely, the metro is plagued by eastern Europeans who get into a carriage, play a few lines very badly, go round with a hat then go off into the next carriage.

I love listening to street musicians who are often people from all walks of life, some with incredible talent, some less so, but having the courage to give it a go.

Re: Street music whilst on holiday

Posted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:47 pm
by debra
My experience is that you can find accordion street music everywhere. I stumbled on (Russian) bayan virtuosi in Rome and Dublin and good accordion players most everywhere. For quality music it helps to be in cities that have a conservatory and nice weather. I had wonderful experiences in Utrecht (the Netherlands) for instance, both in the station and in the old center, with excellent students playing really difficult but nice pieces.

Re: Street music whilst on holiday

Posted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:35 pm
by JeffJetton
Yup, I've seen it all over the place in Europe. And every single one of them seems to plays "Never on a Sunday". Not sure why that is. :-)

One time, in Graz, I struck up a conversation with a street accordionist, who then insisted I sit down and play his accordion for a bit. It was an obvious ploy to get a big tip, but it worked. And now I can say that I've busked in Austria. 8-)

The aforementioned Munich seems to really do a good job of welcoming street performers, with accordion well-represented. We once listened to a five-piece chamber music ensemble while dining al fresco on Neuhauser Straße. They actually managed to wheel a baby grand piano out onto the street!

Re: Street music whilst on holiday

Posted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:15 pm
by Glenn
Rome often sees them working the tables in the summer but often they play the same music over and over. Sometimes you may be lucky. One time I had a lovely street concert with an excellent accordionist and an opera singer. Was delightful. They got and deserved a good tip :)

Re: Street music whilst on holiday

Posted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:18 pm
by Tom
I was in Paris and Rome last summer and agree with Corsaire, having seen some wonderful musicians in the subway, including accordions. Same in Rome, around the tourist centers. To be sure, there were plenty of disapointing, talentless buskers but fortunately they were overshadowed by the good. I did not talk to these musicians, so don't know if they were making a living, a few bucks, or what, but I was pleasantly surprised. (And contributed quite a few euros, mind you!)