I was in the Bukit Bintang district a couple of days ago when i came across this 10-man strong group of buskers performing in front of a highly-piqued audience of shoppers, professional lepakologists, tourists and a couple of policemen who looked like they were trying to figure out if they could fit all this musical talent into the Dang Wangi lockup.
Seeing the performance got me thinking about all the so-called professional musicians talking about how being in the local music community hampers their freedom, stunts their growth, blocks their progress, et cetera, ad infinitum, ad nauseaum. I didn’t see any hampered freedom that night, not even with the harmonica virtuoso in the wheelchair. He seemed pretty free to me. And i certainly didn’t see them getting blocked, either. Heck, the crowd blocking my view got lah. Sure, I might be oversimplifying this a wee bit too much, but my basic point remains the same: you can get the job done, and get beautiful music made, with whatever you have at hand, regardless of perceived limitations. Complaining won’t get you half the audience these guys got that night, and performing on the roadside is a damn sight better than not performing at all. It’s just a matter of what you want out of it all. I’d say, hardships aside, these guys were having a lot of fun.
Keep that music playing.