April Fool's busk

Meninos Oldham

On Saturday we invaded Manchester for our first ever busking session - and all for a good cause. Eraldo (the guy in the red jacket in the photo above) comes from Sao Paulo in Brazil where we was a member of Meninos do Morumbi, a fantastic youth-focussed Samba school in Brazil. One of the things he did when in Brazil was to raise funding to rebuild the house of one of the kids who attended Meninos - many of the kids come from the favelas, and live in pretty grim conditions. He and the other tutors of Meninos do Morumbi in Oldham teach us all for free, and in return they asked that we give up one Saturday a month to either busk or play at a performance, with all the money going to a charity that they are setting up to help improve more people's housing in Sao Paulo. I think it's a superb idea - many of the bands who busk in Manchester do so for themselves, but to be honest when the money is split between all the players it probably doesn't provide more than a couple of pints each. And as Eraldo, Ian (white jacket, above), Holly (between Eraldo and Ian), Leon and Emily all give their time for free I think it's only right that we reciprocate and give something back in return. The fact that the money is going to Brazil is even more of a bonus - after all it's their music we are playing.

We started at about 11:30am and played through to nearly 3:30pm - certainly the longest I've ever played. The weather was typically April - a series of heavy showers with sunny spells in between, so we got wet a couple of times. We were on the corner outside M&S, and the weekly protests were going on - first the Palestinian faction turned up, shortly followed by the anti-Iraq war protesters, finally topped off by a group carrying Israeli flags. It's a regular occasion - about half a dozen police turned up out of nowhere and tried to politely keep the two sides out of arm's reach of each other. The sight of two men standing 5 feet apart bellowing at each other through loudhailers seemed to neatly sum up the entire Middle East situation. However I did think the air horn that one of the Israeli supporters kept letting off whenever one of the other side tried to talk was an arms escalation too far. At one point one of the policemen sidled over to us and asked if we could play really loudly and we were only too glad to oblige. It had the required effect - whilst we were playing they all shut up - well, they didn't have a hope in hell of being heard over us. I felt quite the child of the 60s ;-)

The plan is for us to busk every month, so we've got quite a few dates lined up:

  • Sunday 30th April, outside M&S in Manchester, 12:00am - 4:00pm
  • Saturday 20th May, outside M&S in Manchester, 11:00am - 3:00pm
  • Sunday 20th May, Oldham Carnival (May Parade)
  • Saturday 24th June, busking, location TBD
  • Saturday 29th July, busking, location TBD
  • Saturday 26th August, busking, location TBD
So come along. And bring money :-)

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Categories : Drumming