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Severine de Montmartre (and Other Wonderful Street Musicians)

By October 30, 2012

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Not long ago, I found myself playing tourist on top of Montmartre in Paris. After lugging a stroller, a 2-year-old, and my entirely-too-heavy stroller up the hill (albeit with help from the trusty funiculaire/cable car that totes you up the majority of the hill), I needed a break. Conveniently, we chanced upon a woman dressed in turn-of-the-century garb, playing musette-style accordion for tips. Turns out, she was Severine, the "accordeoniste officiel de Montmartre," and my toddler and I were both captivated.

I'll admit it: I'm a sucker for a street musician. Subway accordion players, street-corner stringbands, bucket drummers, tin pan drum ensembles -- bring it on. Even when they're not great, it's great to hear real live music in a public place. Paris is one of the world's great cities for buskers, but they can be found just about anywhere with a reasonably strong pedestrian culture. Sometimes local officials frown on the practice (boo!) but you can often still find them at farmers' markets, small street fairs, and the like.

Does your city have street musicians? Do you wish it did... or didn't? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Severine Image (c) Megan Romer, 2012 / Licensed to About.com


November 1, 2012 at 12:56 pm
(1) Ryan Lee Dawes says:

In Bloomington, IN, there is strong support for any public art, including street musicians, (though ‘musician’ may be a bit of a stretch). No ‘panhandling’ permits are required. We have a firefighter who blasts his bag pipes, a great harmonica player, several mediocre singer/songwriters, and a ukulele player who brings his parrot along. The BEST city for street musicians that I’ve encountered, though, is Galway in Ireland.

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