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Thursday, June 18, 2009


Busking better known as street performers has been around for many centuries in the form of bards, wardering minstrels town criers they were the precursor to the days of vaudeville, burlesque, but buskers continued where the later forms of entertainment ended. So we can say buskers encircled them. They literally had to sing for their supper. The Busker was found in every corner of the globe performing for tips and other gratuities. Busking has a long and lustrous history but not as long as the other forms of entertainment.
The dictionary meaning for busker was first entered in the 1860s, Spanish buskar 'to seek or to wander' and given to the wandering minstrels of the middle ages. During this time the merchants invited the buskers to stand in front of their stores and entertain to attract the crowds., plazas and public squares to attract the passers by to help in their business traffic. These entertainers were paid for their talent. Before the Renaissance in France the name troubadours was given to these street talents, in Germany they were known as minnesingers or spielleute,Italy buscare which means to obtain or get through special means, In Europe and English speaking countries from 15-1600 to the 1900s the name minstrelsy was coined and given to these entertainers.
The Early Days
In early Rome buskers who sang songs and told stories against the government were, either fined or imprisoned and worse sentenced to death. Before this law was passed the street performer were entitled to the same rights as the rest of the people. In England the law was that these buskers needed to be licenced, if not they would be whipped for two consecutive days. In the late 1800s the laws in England permitted the people to harass the buskers and that still goes on to this very day.
Today, busking is seen almost in every corner of the world. This is how the art of music, art, and advertising has been broadened by the buskers. Japan has their own form of buskering, as well as Mexico(Mariachi) who travel the streets, restaurants and bars for gratuities. The USA had their own form of buskers in the guise of medicine shows used entertainers to attract the crowds. Then passed the hat, the art of passing the hat still exists today. While circus performer were idle they would rework their acts to fit the situation and the hat got passed again. Finally busking hit the folk music genre, who went from bar to bar, restaurant to restaurant as well as cafe to cafe. Two of the buskers who come to mind are Woody Gunthie and Joan Baez.

Present-day busker festivals would gather together in public squares performing for free then passing the hat. The Be-ins at the Golden Gate Park, San Jose's Bee Stadium and San Francisco Bay all had or were buskers....Janis Joplin,Big Brother and the holding co.,Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane,Jimi Hendrix , etc. Free love, Drugs gave busking a bad image.
Modern technology has made life for the busker much easier. They can book their own talent on the Internet, as well as promote themselves. The buskers are using the Internet for their talent and getting paid via some form of electronic payment. So Busking has not gone away its still here look on your Internet. Got something to share we would be glad to add it to this message...

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