For The Love Of Music


Walking in Boston’s North End a few days ago, I came upon this street musician playing in a park. Suddenly this little boy walked over and quietly stood very close to him, entranced by his playing. The two stayed that way for quite a while. It was a beautiful moment.

Music In The Construction Zone


You never know what you might see around here, but this lady playing an amplified violin in the middle of this mess was one of the more unusual things I have run across lately. Not only was her music rather good, she was also dancing to its beat.

And here’s one last oddity. Look at those shoes!

Spring’s Aria



It’s a lovely tune.

They’re Back!

L1000662-Editsmall.jpgYesterday was the first day this year that the “musical” street folks were out in force. Can’t say that classical violinists were very well represented.

Street Music Man

P1010410-Edit-Editsmall.jpgThe guys, that play music for cash in public places generally fall into two categories. Skilled and hardly at all. The competent players want money just as much as the duds but they seem genuinely involved with the music they play and don’t seem to mind playing even when pickings are slim. The duds toot and strum loudly, holding a recognizable instrument, but the sounds they make are used primarily as an attention-getting device as if to say, here I am, pay me.

The man pictured above wasn’t that easy to classify. He certainly needed a shave and his right eye showed the sign of somebody’s fist but, he had clean fingernails and his clothes were worn but clean. As for his musical skills they were passable, just, but he was singing in a place that was pretty far off the beaten path which makes me think he was new to his gig or didn’t much care whether he made any money.

He spoke almost in a whisper when I asked him if I could take his picture. “Sure, if that’s what you want, be my guest.”

When I took out a dollar to give him I noticed he didn’t even have a place where I could put it. There was a story there but, I was late and moved on.




























The Orsino Street Musician

P1000823small“Orsino” Means Bear Like.  (and the music he played was really quite good)

The 3 Dollar Crossing

My wife Sarah is generous, a big understatement, and as the holiday season thunders up on us she is constantly on the lookout for good causes to support. The Salvation Army bell ringers are of course a no brainer. There’s hardly ever been one that doesn’t get something. 


Street begging however is another thing. It’s often a close call as to whether the person is worthy of help or just getting a few bucks the easy way. For instance we have a local panhandler named Michael who hangs out semi-permanently on the corner of Charles and Beacon Street. I saw him this morning eating breakfast with a friend at our local Starbucks also on the corner of Charles and Beacon. I assume this was just before his morning shift begging just outside their front door. 


All this background information is leading up to our walk across Boston Garden just a few hours ago. The prettiest way to get to our place is to go over the bridge and on the weekends that stretch is a street musician gauntlet. From the Arlington Street entrance to the crossing at Charles we passed 4 kinds music beggars working the passersby.

The first was a bad but sincere saxophone player slowly butchering well-known show tunes.


The second was a quite talented Vietnamese gentleman playing a 2 stringed fiddle called a Dan Nhi. 


This man used to play mostly oriental sounding music but lately seems to have come to believe, correctly I’m sure, that if what he played sounded more familiar to western ears his take would be better. He has changed his tune, as it were, and indeed his monetary rewards seem to have improved.


Next along our route was a guitar playing troubadour singing mournful ballads in Spanish. I’m not sure of his nationality but the songs are beautiful and the man singing them seems quite peaceful and at one with his music.


Finally as we were about to leave the park and cross over to the Common we stopped at the corner were the one man bands seem always to play. Today there was a guy who wore his band on his back. Usually there is another one who does his thing sitting down.


And so it was as we left this gauntlet of musicality Sarah had dropped three dollars into their coffers.

Three dollars you say?

But there were four people!

Yes there were and as I said in the beginning, it was a 3 dollar crossing. 

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