Just looking at the little things I collected on the trip – an album of a busker band, an Irish whistle, and a nice photo of two buskers and me – I seem to hear music playing in my head. The trip to Dublin gave me a new impression of the city, something I never knew before: Dublin is a city of music.
The strong busking culture has made street musicians one of Dublin’s popular live attractions. Grafton Street, in particular, is a must-visit place where buskers compete to catch your attention. Buskers! Something prohibited altogether in the city I come from (as it is seen by law-makers as a form of begging, which is not legally allowed). I could hardly wait; I wandered through the Street on the first day. It did not disappoint me, but filled me with joy and lots of music. I had seen street artists before, but never as impressive as the ones in Dublin. All I can say is, a lot of them are real musicians. It was only after the trip that I learned Bono the lead singer of Irish band U2 and Damien Rice were once buskers too. I wonder if the ones I saw that afternoon had the same secret wish of rising to fame?
The group that caught my attention was called Mutefish, a group of 5. The sound of the traditional Irish whistle pulled pedestrians together, forming a big circle outside a famous chain store. I was stunned by their music, the lead player and his well-practised fingers on the tin whistle. The audience was clearly delighted with the performance – some dancing, some clapping, some nodding to the beat, some pulling out a €10 note for an album. From time to time the lead player switched from tin whistle to Irish flute, not only creating the utterly Irish experience, but also making their performance fresh and exciting. I let myself indulge in the music for one whole hour, then another hour before I finally collected the most precious souvenir of the trip. This very moment as I write I am playing one of their tunes, remembering that spring afternoon in Grafton Street where I collected this album.
Have a stroll along Grafton Street you will find so many more buskers. Some of them you know they are young, very young; some of them you wonder if they have been busking all their lives; some of them are very talented singer; some of them sing to an empty street. As I came closer to the end of the street, I realized I had not even seen one shop. All that caught my eyes, or more exactly my ears, were the buskers and music.
From traditional Irish tunes to rock and pop, from fantastically fabulous to tuneless, Dublin buskers definitely have a lot to offer.
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