Busk in London

Buskers in the Market

Thu 17 Aug

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LEARN MORE ABOUT SOME OF THE BUSKERS THAT HAVE BEEN PUTTING ON A SHOW IN THE MARKET OVER THE SUMMER

Working in conjunction with Busk in London, we’ve been hosting some of the best musical talent around right here on the cobbles. Here’s your opportunity to meet five of the buskers behind the microphones.

 

Karina Ramage

 

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m 23, graduated from a music degree last year, and since have been trying to make music my full time job. It’s hard, as venues in London don’t pay and expect you to bring 25-30 people, paying £5 each, (which you see nothing of) to see you in a basement with awful sound.

Where do you perform?

I busk for most of the time around Southbank, train stations through Busk in London and Camden (which is honestly my new favourite place). People there happy and relaxed, excited to hear new music and are active at following your social media etc…

What do you do when you are not out busking?

I sing lead vocals in a high end function band. It’s fun and good practise for my voice and very rewarding to make people happy and give them a good show. At the moment I’m enjoying being a session vocalist for drum and bass music (for the label Hospital Records), the music is great and gets featured on BBC Radio 1.

What made you get into busking/singing in general?

I started busking when I was 15 and living in France. I saw a couple of gypsies playing guitar and I wanted to try it for myself, which was great fun.

What are your plans/goals for the future?

I just want to be able to have a successful career performing and recording music. It’s the one job I keep wanting to do more of.

Find out more about Karina here.

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Joncan Kavlakoglu

How did you get into busking?

I started in Istanbul  as a way of testing out the style of acoustic guitar playing that I was getting into, as well as trying to put myself ‘out there’. I started busking and realised I was actually making pretty good money and my musicianship was benefiting massively from the busking sessions so it continued.

How did you get involved with Busk In London?

After moving back to London from Istanbul for a short period I was told by a fellow busker to check the service out. I did and I found them to be extremely busker-friendly and a great system for managing what can be a tricky thing to organise.

What’s the difference between busking and singing at other gigs?

As I say to many people, if I’m able to play the intricate, highly focused material I perform on a cold windy street along Camden Market, with the hustle and bustle and noises of the area, with people constantly chatting to me and yet still maintain a professional playing standard, then when I’m on a warm, lit stage with a great sound technician and fantastic stage sound it’s an absolute piece of cake!

Busking is also a highly effective form of marketing for me. Most of my gigs I get from people seeing me busking, taking my details, and using me for gigs from weddings to business events to house parties in mansions and everything in between!

How did you enjoy busking in Camden?

Camden is always hectic, busy, very unpredictable and very energising. I wouldn’t recommend it to ‘beginner’ buskers because as I mentioned about the variability, Camden would be one of the hardest places at first because so much is going on. But busking as an art form fits there so well and it’s so well received that it’s always a pleasure to busk there and I always, always meet some amazing and interesting contacts each time I busk there – and these have led to some great gigs!

What are your plans/goals for the future?

I’m in the process of putting an initial album together – so many people have been asking to buy an album from me that it’s more from audience demand than anything else. Aside from that, 100% of my rent, bills, food and life is paid for from performing my own music and I couldn’t be happier about that. So the plan is to keep doing the same, write more, practice more, increase my musicianship and perform in more locations around the world.

Find out more about Joncan here.

Charlotte Campbell

How did you get into singing/busking?

Singing has always been a big part of my family and I’ve loved singing in public from a young age. As for busking, I wanted to grow my online audience but was struggling to reach new fans. I decided to go out and busk to see if I could generate some interest from passers by and the response was really positive.

How did you get involved with Busk In London?

As I started to look into busking I discovered a competition called Gigs, Big Busk in association with the Mayor of London. I entered and not only found myself in the final, but also discovered a community of young buskers like me and hard working organisers trying to make busking easier throughout London, a community which has since become Busk in London.

What’s the difference between busking and singing at other gigs? What do you enjoy more?

When I sing at gigs I tend to do short, focused sets of my own songs to (hopefully) an attentive audience. When I’m busking, the set lists are less rigid and more adaptable to the crowd as it shifts, grows and changes. I play more cover songs but I don’t expect the crowd to listen, although it’s lovely when they do.

What do you do when you aren’t busking?

My life seems to revolve around music most of the time so usually I’m playing a gig, writing new music or recording! Or sleeping!

How did you enjoy busking in Camden?

Camden is such an iconic part of London for music! It’s an ideal place for busking as people who visit are music fans and so appreciative and welcoming. I loved busking there and can’t wait to go back!

Find out more about Charlotte here

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Spannertate

How did you get into singing/busking?

Dan and I have been playing together since 2012 originally as part of a larger band and then formed the duo spannertate in 2013.  We started out playing gigs and festivals but eager to play as much as possible took to the streets where we found we really loved the interactions with people who were enjoying our music. When we started busking we were unsure of where it was legal to play: staff at the South Bank approached about their auditions, which we attended and got our licences. They also handed us information about Busk in London.

What’s special about busking?

When people stop and listen during a busking performance it is really special – they have chosen to come into your world, for as long or short a time as they want. We can be more spontaneous when busking; if we see that something has gone down well with people we can tailor our next song to what we think they will enjoy.

How did you enjoy busking in Camden?

Camden Market has a very different vibe – mostly tourists and traders. It’s really interesting to play there especially if you enjoy some people watching and when you have a small crowd it is lovely to hold people’s attention for a while amongst the whirlwind of stimulus that is the market.  I particularly like making the security staff smile and dance!

What are your plans/goals for the future?

As a duo, we would like to continue with a mix of busking, gigs and festivals, as variety is key and we are planning to record our first album as a duo.  We have gigs in Portugal planned for next year and will check out the busking scene in Lisbon and Porto.

Find out more about Spannertate here.