Well then, let's talk about busking baby.

A forum about Uilleann (Irish) pipes and the surly people who play them.
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rorybbellows
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Well then, let's talk about busking baby.

Post by rorybbellows »

First of all, is it legal where you live, would you ever consider giving it a go? If you have been a uilleann pipes busker, how did it go, did you make a lot of money.?
A lot of the old time pipers were buskers, most notably Johnny Doan so is it something pipers should do more of.
What ya think?
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Re: Well then, let's talk about busking baby.

Post by daveboling »

It is legal here, and I've done it on many occasions. Like in most businesses, location is critical, so is priming the pot ( or in this instance, the case). If you toss in a few bills before you start, the passers by who stop and listen might drop a bit in. Play simple tunes, and simple airs. If you can, swallow your pride and belt out "Danny Boy" :P . Showy playing, like The Downfall of Paris would get you a nice tip if you're Mikie Smyth. Talking to the passers by about what you've got strapped around your waist will increase the donation. Except in unusual circumstances, I've collected just enough for a simple meal, and maybe a pint or two. More often now, you get drowned out by some git with an alto (or worse, soprano) sax and a portable amplifier playing endless, mind numbing ear pudding.

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Re: Well then, let's talk about busking baby.

Post by pancelticpiper »

Many years ago a friend and I tried our hand at busking for a couple weekends at a Renaissance Fair.

For our first day I brought uilleann pipes, Scottish smallpipes, a wood Irish flute, some whistles, and a bodhran.

My friend brought an Irish cittern, whistles, and a bodhran.

That first day we tried all the various instrument combinations (neither of us sing) and we quickly discovered that we drew bigger crowds when I was playing the Scottish smallpipes. Oddly the people were fascinated by the bellows when I was playing those, but didn't notice the bellows when I played the uilleann pipes.

I can't now recall whether we got the best response with my friend doing cittern, or drum. Whichever it was we stuck to the money-making duo for the rest of that first day and for the subsequent days (not bothering to bring any other instruments) and we made decent tips.
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Re: Well then, let's talk about busking baby.

Post by bigsciota »

I'm not a piper, but I have done a decent bit of busking with the whistle. Mix in a good few recognizable tunes/songs, stuff like Carrickfergus and, yes, Danny Boy will catch people's ears. I've found that the fast reels that trad players often love so much funnily enough don't do so well in a busking situation. The Mason's Apron and showy stuff like that gets a bit of a reaction, but otherwise I think the reels juts fly by too quickly for people to really ground their listening if they're unfamiliar. Jigs, song airs, marches, showy hornpipes, that kind of thing seems to do quite well.
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Re: Well then, let's talk about busking baby.

Post by Mr.Gumby »

Thirty or so years ago..


:tomato:



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I busked a lot during my late teens, did some with the pipes in my twenties and occasionally later.
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Re: Well then, let's talk about busking baby.

Post by PJ »

Where I live now (Quebec city), the city has a big tourist industry. As a result, the city regulates busking. You need a permit to busk, and to get the permit, you have to audition. Once you have your pemit, you have to respect the zoning rules. All too complicated, if you ask me.

One thing I've heard from pipers who busk is that using the regulators is always a big hit and will increase the public's interest (and donations).

I haven't busked with the pipes, but in my student days (late 80s/early 90s) I busked around Cork. I'd love to give it a go with the pipes - not for the money, but for the interaction with the public.
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Re: Well then, let's talk about busking baby.

Post by rorybbellows »

I've heard the best place to busk with pipes if you want to make a few bob is at a horse racing meeting. Plenty of drinking and spare cash about.
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Re: Well then, let's talk about busking baby.

Post by PJ »

rorybbellows wrote:... horse racing meeting ...
Slightly OT but I've been told that horses don't like the sound of GHB, and so horses and highland pipers are never near eachother in parades. :o
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Re: Well then, let's talk about busking baby.

Post by rorybbellows »

Horses love uilleann pipes
https://youtu.be/WSKYu0QYj-4
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