Next Buskers:

This season of Buskers has brought a number of unknown artists into the spotlight through free performances within public spaces throughout greater Columbia. The season will close on June 1 with a special performance by an ensemble from the SC Philharmonic. Premier violinist Damir Horvat and principal cellist Dusan Vukajlovic will perform in the Congaree Vista from 7:30-9:00 PM, directed by Morihiko Nakahara. "Like" Pocket Productions on Facebook to find out the exact location where the ensemble will perform.

Did you catch this?

When: Thursday, Friday and Saturday, May 4-5
Who: Classical Revolution
Where? Main Street block 1500 and Trenholm Plaza

Nave Graham and Sarah Robinson played a selection of classical music on Main Street and in Trenholm Plaza. Both artists perform for the organization "Classical Revolution," which aims to bring classical music to the masses through free public performances in unexpected locations. To find out more about Classical Revolution, go to their website.

Buskers 5:

Where? West Columbia Riverwalk behind the old New Orleans Restaurant

When? Friday, April 27 from 6:30-9

Who? Columbia community Drum Circle

Columbia community Drum Circle is an open forum for rhythm & movement. The phrase "Drum Circle" is a rather broad term which can mean a variety of things to different people. Typically it is a group of people gathered in an informal setting, spontaneously making music using various types of percussion instruments, primarily hand drums.

This is the 4th year for this Circle. We gather every Friday (weather permitting) from April thru Oct. at the Riverwalk in West Columbia. Each week is different depending on who shows up. There will be from 10-50 people, from toddlers to folks in their 60s. The diversity of the group is one of the wonderful things about it. Not all who come come to drum, Some hoop, some dance, some come just to enjoy the vibe & the beautiful setting. Drummers of all skill levels participate. It's a great place for beginners but also skilled drummers can enjoy

Just in case you were wondering...

The drum circle does not solicit tips. The musicians who play for the drum circle are talented artists who enjoy performing within our community. What other community events demonstrate the talent in Columbia that could manifest on sidewalks with city restrictions lifted?

Buskers 4:

Special edition to celebrate
National Dance Week

When? Saturday morning, April 21

Where? Farmer's Market at 701 Whaley

Who? Vista Ballroom

What? Two surprise tango performances directed by Erin Bolshakov

Tango Dancers: Erin Bolshakov, Harby Gonzalez, Ann Kent, Adam Biggs, Lucy Gordon, Paul Mount, Harry Lester, Carolyn Moss, James Fields, Amy Suttles, Melissa Bush, Sonia Jacobson, Zenaida Broom, Ken Broom.

Special thanks to Bob Benjamin for technical support and Sonia Jacobson for her video footage.

VISTA Ballroom is located in the heart of Columbia's Congaree Vista District at 717 Lady St. They are open daily, offering group and private lessons in Argentine Tango, Salsa, Ballroom, and Shag, plus monthly social events and dance parties. For information on classes please visit www.vistaballroom.net or join their Facebook group "VISTA Ballroom".

Just in case you were wondering...

Flash mobs are not buskers, but the dancers who do them ARE potential buskers. With a busking ordinance accepted, a huge variety of talent will be able to take to the streets of Columbia for tips, enabling free expression of a huge variety of artists who live in this city.

Buskers 3:

Featured Ryan Stokes and Davin Lail with Michael Canty.
Where? the Skate Park at Owens Field
When? Friday, April 13 as the sun set

On Friday, April 13, Davin Lail and Ryan Stokes played a variety of percussion instruments at the Skate Park at Owens Field as the sun set. While they played, the skaters continued their practicing, making loops around the musicians as Davin and Ryan filled the park with music. They were joined by their friend Michael Canty about halfway through on Djembe.

Davin Lail is a musician and teacher in Columbia SC. After graduating from USC School of Music, Davin studied in numerous countries and performed in the US and abroad. Currently, Davin is performing for J'Ouvert, Shades of Souls and Woyate.

Ryan Stokes Studied Percussion at the University of South Carolina to receive his bachelors in music performance in 2002. He has studied and performed music around the world including Guinea, Central America, Russia and the US. Ryan is currently experimenting in creating various soundscapes using assorted percussion and found objects and integrating them into natural and/or man made acoustic environments. He is a founding member of J'Ouvert Steel Band, an adjunct dance accompanist at Columbia College, and is a private music educator in the Midlands of SC.

Just in case you were wondering...

The skaters loved having Ryan, Davin and Michael play at the Skate Park. One regular told us that musicians have come to play there several times in the past, and it is always a special treat.

As we were leaving the Skate Park, we drove through Five Points and were delighted to see some buskers near Yesterdays. It seems that the city is becoming more receptive and more excited about filling our public spaces with music. We are looking forward to the acceptance of a busking ordinance, which may happen before the end of 2012.

Buskers 2:

March 31
Where? Five Points Fountain
Who? Wesley Joyner on Baglama, Ryan Shah on Tabla
When? Saturday afternoon

Wesley Joyner has been involved in various kinds of music over the years, including ska, oldtime banjo, dark ritual ambient and jazz, as well as music of Greece and Turkey. He currently plays Turkish baglama and Greek bouzouki with Ryan Shah and Siddarth Chaudhuri in a group called Folding Time, which fuses Mediterranean and Indian musical traditions. He also performs with James Wallace under the name Pandora's Xbox.

Ryan Shah was born in 1976 in Missouri, USA. He began learning Drum Set at age six and was performing by age twelve. He began studying Tabla in 1997 under Pralad Khatri in Charlotte, NC and later in Kolkata, India under Ustad Sabir Khan. He currently learns under Pranab Kumar Das of Kolkata, India.

One reason why some are reluctant to legalize busking is that they fear it will encourage panhandling. At 1:12 in the video from this edition of Buskers, a boy asks me for a dollar while Wes and Ryan play free music for passersby. Are we really confused about which of these are panhandlers?

At the City Council meeting on April 10, Mayor Benjamin and the rest of the council expressed great support for passing a busking ordinance in Columbia. We are very optimistic that with continued attention to this important issue, free expression in our public places will soon become a reality. Keep spreading the word, and support your local busker!

Buskers 1:

March 25
Where? Harbison Blvd
Who? Tim Costello, Accordian Player
When? Sunday afternoon

We did not inform any of the store owners before March 25 about "Buskers". It is our experience that businesses owned by large corporations typically are not able to get clearance to accept art projects like these in their vicinity.

Over 200 individuals heard Tim's music as they came and went from the shops in and around Harbison Blvd. From the patrons of the establishments, Tim was talked into accepting some tips, though he explained that the project was funded by Pocket Productions and he was not working for tips. Tim played his accordian in front of Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, TJ Max, Old Navy, Publix and Columbia Grande. The most accepting locations of these were Old Navy and Columbia Grande. The least accepting was TJ Max, where Tim played for a total of 20 seconds before being shut down by the store manager, though he was not soliciting tips.

Our question is this: Who is benefited when Tim is prevented from playing free music?