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May 23, 2008

Fernando Plays Accordion -- We Need More Busking


This is Fernando Gonzales de Jesus, playing near the Plaza Grande in Mérida, MX.  He and his daughter Marisol are from Oaxaca (about two days' distance) but they came here in search of economic opportunity.  Same story the world over, I guess.

Fernando has a cool busking technique.  He'll play a few bars in the normal way (left hand for chords and rhythm, right hand for melody), then he'll stick his right hand out for donations while the left hand keeps chugging along. Download a 3GPP clip of Fernando here.

After a while, I felt badly for yapping with Fernando while he was trying to earn some money, so I went to a nearby cafe to buy dinner for him and his girl (hamburgers, horchata, and a jamaica agua fresca).  After I returned with the food, Fernando asked if I wanted to play, and I took a five-minute shift on the squeezebox.

Apparently the people of Mérida prefer his Oaxacan music to my waltzes, tangos, and randomalia.  I didn't make one frickin' peso.  (Though my cultural theory gets busted when I remember my German sax player friend who did alright about two blocks away.)

Back here in Durham: I'd love to see some more any busking.  But as Barry R says at the Dependable Erection, Durham isn't the most busking-friendly place. The folks at Southpoint seem to have juggled around on this one.  Artsplosure is also working out the details for their one weekend a year.  Sigh.

01:15 AM in Mexico, Traveling | Permalink


p.s. See the couple walking closely down the sidewalk? Yep, they still do that kind of thing in Mexico. Which is crazymaking if you're trying to walk past them (in either direction) without wanting to duck into the street where the big fast buses go vroom.

You learn after some point that it's best to walk in the opposite direction of the one-way streets. That way you know when it's safe to use the street, and when you really need to stay close to the buildings.

BTW -- not that I think anyone's paying attention -- but I'm blogging a bunch of old Mexico stuff now because I'll feel silly doing it after I've left for Honduras.

Posted by: Phil | May 23, 2008 1:24:21 AM

I believe from the discussion that busking is not necessarily not allowed, but that no one will sponsor it for fear of liability.

Southpoint "juggling" tee hee.

Without looking at the photo first, I thought the couple might have been walking down the street, each with a hand in the other's back pocket.

Posted by: Valerie | May 23, 2008 4:56:06 AM