forums forums (
-   -   The South American busker problem (

Dr. Harmonica 05-17-03 06:50 PM

The South American busker problem
Beware of South American busker bands with big generator powered pa's
They are everywhere in Europe and they hog the pitch.
What can you do.....
1. Put sugar in their generator fuel tank.
This works well as long as you don't get caught
2. Beat them up
Not a good idea. There's too many of them
3. Play louder and turn up your amp if you have one
Doesn't work. No way you can be louder then ten indians beating on drums and blowing pan flutes
4. Try talking to them and make a deal to share the pitch
this some times works and is the most civilized method
5. If # 4 doesn't work go back to # 1. 2. or 3.
6. Last resort....bite the bullet and move
Dr. Harmonica [img]frown.gif[/img]
Some of the jugglers that I know like to wait until around dusk and then light up all their torches. This, they hope, will draw the attention of the crowd and steal the audiance away from the indians. That is all well and good if one has torches and enough fuel to burn down the pitch but of course music acts rarely carry such items around Better to try to negotiate. South Americans must be trained in pitch ethics. After all the street is for everyone and should be fairly shared. If, however, they still will not listen to reason then any dirty trick you can think of is fair game.

[ 05-19-2003: Message edited by: Dr. Harmonica ]</p>

rsalami 05-19-03 10:08 AM

When I work in Cadiz, I always wake up early and beat them to the pitch. They would show up and see me all set up at 8AM in the Plaza de Flores. Possession is 9/10ths. I had the spot. I'd just smile and say "better get up earlier next time."
I would watch SalamiLand (my set) from a cafe having a big breakfast while the public read my promo and looked at the pictures I display. I'd change into Rami Salami around 10 and be hot on the spot til after midnight with a nice long siesta in the afternoon.
If I hadn't gotten up early, it might have been sunglass vendors, musicians or a statue performer. It's very important to stake first claim to the spot you want.
I hope Silly Phil will share some stories of our adventures in Spain in the late 1990s.
Greetings to all - Phil aka Rami Salami in Boston

Dr. Harmonica 05-19-03 11:25 AM

[ 05-19-2003: Message edited by: Dr. Harmonica ]</p>

Dr. Harmonica 05-19-03 12:45 PM

In Rebuttle from Dr. Harmonica
If you are performing on a well established pitch being first on the spot does not necessarily mean that you own the pitch all day. Hogging the pitch places you in the same position as the South Americans and can lead to pitch wars with people showing up earlier and earlier every day. In the end a "designated" band member will end up sleeping on the pitch to hold it down. It is not right or fair to claim a pitch for several hours just waiting until it's prime time before you start to play. The first act on the pitch usually gets to say about what time they want to play and in the meantime all acts rotate and try to keep an established schedule. Everyone is entitled to a time slot. We all have to earn a living. Like it or not the pitch is for all performers. It's hard enough dealing with police, angry shop owners and other establishment types who don't appriciate what we do and also to fight among our own special comunity.

[ 05-19-2003: Message edited by: Dr. Harmonica ]</p>

jugglermatt1 05-24-03 08:17 AM

You have to look for places with more than one pitch .Sharing pitches is Ok , but I dont do it so much , I do a 10 minute show and dont like sharing with hour long ego maniacs .I always set up near those groups , and steal their croud , and later they steal mine , no problem

mini mansell 05-24-03 11:18 AM

[quote]Originally posted by jugglermatt1:
<strong> I do a 10 minute show and dont like sharing with hour long ego maniacs .</strong><hr></blockquote>


i am interested as to how a ten minute show can work. the gathering of a decent crowd can take ten minutes alone.

GlassHarper 06-08-03 01:54 PM

I would far rather get tips from 100% of an audience of 10 people than from 10% of an audience of 100 people -- you don't NEED a huge crowd to do a good ten minute show, you just need a truely interested crowd, one where you can make direct eye contact with each member, thus forging a more personal (albeit short) relationship.

A secondary value of that is I haven't preconditioned 90% of my audience to being accustomed to walking off without an acknowledgement of the ethics of being a voyeur in an age of voyeurism.

Although I'm not a big circle-show performer it has been my observation that the hour-long circle shows have far more walk-offs than the shorter, more cohesive shows. But then, that's MY show!

jugglermatt1 06-09-03 06:18 AM

By playing in large squares , gardens , parks , childrens playgrounds etc , all of which can have a large amount of people in them , but spread out .Once a few people are interested , the rest come running over like a herd of dim witted sheep . My shows been timed at 12 mins , we have just started making really big bubbles as a kind of pre start start . And also run around madly after the end making bubbles .But in all is no longer than 16 mins ish .
The good thing of working around other performers is that when theyve finished and hatted , by putting in lots of energy , you can have a largish number of people instantly

worldwidese 06-09-03 03:30 PM

Dr. Harmonica has expressed it very well when he says it's not right to claim a pitch and then not use it till prime time. Others should be able to use it too. Probably better to have a draw. As for the S. A. musicians, they should be told that they can't hog the pitch all day either. Maybe a little enquiry as to their residency visa would make them see reason?

jugglermatt1 06-10-03 05:03 AM

I think in Portugal , the South Americans have licences to play , so if a council is willing to give them a licence , then they have rights to play however long they wish .With their relaxing music , a SA group will slow down the pace of passers by and sometimes even stop them , increasing the amount of people in the given location , making it easier for other artists to gather a crowd .The other day there were no South Americans , and for me , there was something missing . My hat is unaffected either way , but I do like my daily 10 doses of Titanic .

martin ewen 06-10-03 11:54 AM

Possession is 9/10ths.
What a facile, ethically bankrupt statement. Created by and for colonialists
Tell that to the rape victim,
Tell it to any country thats ever been conquored simply because it was available and weak. (most of the world in the 19th century when the phrase was invented)
ITs not yours just because you got there first, its everybodies all the time and if your nice you can borrow it for the common good.
Note to Rami, World peace suggestion just find out which came first Arab or Jew, apologise, kill the losers (They have 1/10 rights correct?) and voila.
America did it, australia did it, and others, ,
'Possession is 9/10ths', I'd like to introduce you to my friend, 'Might makes right' know each other? not surprised really , your both assholes.
I'm proud to be that 1/10th who says fuck you, USE IT,, OR LOSE IT.
And if you don't and I do , then I guess we'll see the smug facist you really are.
The difference really lies in the fact that VENDORS work all day selling a product and performers have specific acts that take specific times and contain no tangible products. Musicians selling cd's using their performance as immediate marketing tools are VENDORS exploiting the rights of performers, and facepainters and balloon people who do not have a performance with a biginning and an end are exactly the same. VENDORS exploiting the freedoms allowed performers. And hypocrites if they deny that the bulk of their custom does not come from individuals to whom they give something, (plastic,rubber,paint) in exchange for money.
Much better now thank you

[ 06-10-2003: Message edited by: martin ewen ]</p>

jester 06-11-03 05:28 PM

I see.

So all South American Buskers are the same are they? But no you weren't talking about the nice ones were you. Next you'll be saying there are two types of South American Buskers as we build a common distrust and dislike of them.

Hitler started by saying there were two types of jew and in England we used to have two types of Asylum Seekers. 4 years on all Asylum Seekers are bad in this country according to the press.

The South American Buskers in Salisbury are very nice people who observe the local rules and while they don't like to move their stuff, they are happy to move it back a little and even lend you their generator for your show. This group travels the UK and I have met up with them in many places.

Whats more they are good and make a lot of money, and they work hard.

Racism should not be allowed on

I'm going to start a forum called "The whining wanker problem."

martin ewen 06-11-03 10:56 PM

Oh goodie a bite.
The topic was labelled south american buskers which i agree is a little disingenious as what quickly followed (had you been paying attention) was general gripes (and some attempted justifications) about the concept of site ownership verses pitch rotation.
Contibutions for the affirimitive were made by a balloon clown (well travelled , speaks 5 or more languages, has worked in Israel and also for Fiad (owner of Harrods and arab and daddy of the last person to share a back seat with lady Di.)
I disagreed with statements made in my usual understated way.
Foolishly percieving a phantom target, a kneejerk, ill considered, Uber PC reactionary displays exactly how little grasp he has of the subject at hand. (Um.. that would be you)
So some of your best friends have best friends who are south american/ black/asian/romanian aids orphans/whatever.
Is that your point? I do agree that if i were south american I'd have a right to be pissed off by the title. But have you ever considered that if that were the case they may be able to speak for themselves without haveing to rely on a privilaged white jester to be offended on their behalf. Bit patronising and condecending and colonial ahe what?
I hear Britain and america are killing arabs on a daily basis, while indonese are killing their own and africans are hacking at each other on the hour.
If i were to choose something to hate about south americans it wouldn't be their race, it'd be those diabolical hand knitted vests.

martin ewen 06-11-03 11:13 PM

Say neigh to drugs!

Say Yes to Barry Manilow of the Andes

[ 06-12-2003: Message edited by: martin ewen ]</p>

Peter Voice 06-12-03 12:49 AM

Martin, do you have to double-click for emphasis or is it just your high-horse bucking?

[ 06-12-2003: Message edited by: Peter Voice ]</p>

worldwidese 06-12-03 01:07 AM

For what it's worth, most of them are Central American buskers- they're from Ecuador.

jester 06-12-03 08:57 AM


If I were a South American I would ignore the white colonial racists and hope that the more sensible white privilaged bastards would sort the race problem out amongst themselves.

I certainly don't believe that anybody here on this forum is a racist but I do think the title of this thread would only encourage the many bigots out there who resent foreign people.
And I am not going to apologise for being white. I am very lucky to have been born in a wealthy society and I am bloody grateful for it. But I think you knew what I was saying.

As you well know. I don't bite, I just like arguing the toss. Now my style may be less poetic than yours but my views are still as valid. However, if I did fancy a bite it would be with someone like you cos you is fun to argue the toss with and you don't cry. So if you would kindly disagree with me strongly on something.....


Mr.Taxi Trix 06-12-03 03:06 PM

Great. So we've sorted out that Martin's not trodding the fascist path, and by all means let's all hold hands and sing a hymm.

But the interesting issue of vendor vs performer has me snagged. Is my friend Ed Stander, the glass player, a vendor infringing on the rights of performers to expresss themselves in public? Is Tomco a cd salesman in performer's jeans? I like the line of inquiry. I feel a tasty opportunity for elitism and self righteousness approaching. My one and only attempt at tee shirt sales was such a full on failure I've never thought to repeat it. Does this make me pure?

If you sell a product during your act, are you a mere demonstrator? Is it a ratio thing, where if over 33.3% of your income is derived from material bits and bobs, you are just one more trinket pusher with a gimmic? Most importantly, can you be then swept off the pitch, and have your pan pipes confiscated, and given a decent burial? Can bagpipers be shot on sight, cd or no?

Pyromancer 06-14-03 07:42 AM

Interesting point, Taxi. Last year in Halifax I thought it would be nice to sell some pictures, just as some others did. I tried to hide the fact that I was actually selling, by telling the audience that if they would give me a minimum of I can't remember how many dollars, they'd get a nice photograph.
And all of a sudden, I felt more like a vendor than a street performer. I had to check whether people did throw in enough money and some people were actually trying to rip me off. And I had people throwing in double the amount, demanging two pictures. I had to disappoint people if they were nog generous enough.
After one show I stopped selling and went back to my old plan: just giving the pictures to people that I like.
Now, I am again considering some merchandise, as there is so much money to be made with it. But I honestly don't know how to deal with the actual selling part of it. So I may end up giving stuff away. Again.

Rich Potter 06-16-03 12:47 PM

Just a note:

I have found that in most cases, if I ask politely in broken Spanish how long a South American group is going to play because I want the spot, they are willing to work things out.

Making an effort to meet them on their terms (meaning speaking their language) has generally opened doors.

In general, with anyone, it is best to treat them like an ally first. And second, and only once they've revealed themselves to be selfish pricks should you go to war. (or move)

There used to be a group of breakdancers from Brooklyn I knew in Japan (eons ago). Their rule of thumb seemed to be "might makes right" -- the louder act rules. I hated working next to them as I didn't have an amp and they had a drum set and loud stereo. I did one gig with them, and we hung out and had fun. After that, they always tried to give me space on the street.

The moral? Friends try to take care of each other. Any way to become friends with these South Americans ... or just to be a fellow human ... can make negotiation easier. Maybe offering them drinks or cigarettes would help. Or enjoying and complimenting them on their music. Or looking after their till. Or just showing them you want to be friends rather than enemies. The thing to remember though is that these guys have to feed 10 people (probably plus families) and you are just one or two people.

(Catching flies with honey since 1992)


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:38 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.