Street musicians

In some way they are the truest artists. Let's find interesting people performing out in the open.
I'll start with this:
I don't have a video or audio clip to share but a week or so ago I was walking back to my motorcycle from a visit to Streetlight Records on the Pacific Garden Mall in Santa Cruz and there were three guys playing music on the sidewalk on an upright piano, stand up bass, and a snare with a high hat next to their ancient pickup truck in a metered parking spot and they sounded great! Pure music, free.
I once heard a black man playing sax on Fifth Ave. in Midtown of New York City. Basically it was a neverending blues with a lot of improvising. Technically he was quite good though not great. But the music that was coming out of him was incredible - dark, poweful, intense and sophisticated. Very deep. It was late evening, not many people there, I was in fact the only one who was standing there for twenty minutes or so and listening. He kept playing, maybe for hours, and could be heard from far away. Great talent.
visiting frisco for work, just walking around the downtown area by the mall, came across 4 acapella singers, all old cats, been doing it for decades, standing there belting out old motown favorites...few of us stayed for 30min listening. just amazing what they were doing...
Here's a clickable link to the site. Click on the "markup tags" link under the "Your response" dialog box to learn how.
Tracy Chapman began as a busker. Her earliest music is some of her most compelling.

Related: I'd highly recommend the film, Once. It has a great soundtrack as well.
The Persuasions?? A little of this stuff goes a long way.
But I like 'A Cappella Dreams' Great for a change of pace and to check out how your system does with the human voice.
I came across a very well groomed and dressed man, playing some very beautiful classical guitar on a street corner, while visiting Santa Fe a couple of years ago.
I hope all of you who come across street musicians toss some coins or bills in their cases.
Most have probably already read this old story and seen the video, but in case not, check it out. Joshua Bell plays the subway.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; obviously, he was playing the wrong music for that audience, and they were hoping he would quit screeching on that fiddle.

If he were Jean Luc Ponty, or Ray Nance; or maybe even one of those Blue Grass fiddlers like on "The Beverly Hill Billies", they might have stopped. For what is music from heaven to some, is noise to others.
He did not play that piece well. Had I been there I would've stopped but not for long. He is obviously a very good musician but probably just not used to playing on streets. As a result his performance made little impression. Besides, it was quite early in the morning, most people were not in the mood for a violin music.
Inna is correct. Violin in the morning..Pshaw!
My perfect morning would be sounds of Glockenspiel along with slight hints of Napalm fragrance in the air. Since that perfect combination will unlikely present itself to me in my lifetime,
I would settle for free Joshua Bell in a subway,
if I must....
If street musicians were any good they would not be street musicians. They sound good given the place and time. But not CD / LP good.
Rok2kid, We all possess great given talent.
Early nurturing is not a mandatory luxury.
Some show early bright light, which is snuffed by circumstance, jealousy, etc.
Perhaps life's plan. (?)
You are right. I stand corrected. Often I violate my own rule.... You have to think about things the right way.

Street musician in the Haight Ashbury. Although this beholder hears beauty, I don't expect everyone to hear what I hear; even the name "didgeridoo" is melodic.

How high can you hear?
While it is true that some greats spent time playing in the streets for a few coins, it is also true that non-musicians sometimes over-romanticize the notion of the starving musician. There is no question that there are talented musicians that have to resort to (sometimes they choose to) playing in the streets; occasionally we even hear a very talented one. But reality is that the if we are going to reserve the term "artist" for those who have achieved an extremely high level of proficiency (which is the only way that artistic expression on the highest level is possible) they are rarely heard playing in the streets. Playing or singing in a way that is heartfelt does not necessarily an artist make.
Frogman, instead of delivering a lecture saying the obvious why don't you find something interesting and post it here? Be "an artist" not a consumer.
Lecture? Not at all; no interest in that. Obvious? Apparently not, based on your "truest artists" comment. Anyway, my intention was not to offend; simply engage.
So ok, I'll play: I've heard these guys a few times at midtown subway stations, and they KILL.
I didn't read every post here, but as an ex-professional musician, I would never perform in the street. It reduces muscians to the level of beggars. To those who feel they want to, bless them all, but they should realize the ramifications of what they are doing. IMO of course.
Call me crazy, but I don't know what else to call someone who puts down a hat and hopes someone puts money in it. Does everyone do that? Not where I live. Look - I know that they're good people just trying to make some money. That's ok, but how do they expect to ever make a living at something when they're willing to give it away for scraps people throw them? Next time you see a street musician, ask them if they want to play your private party. They'll say yes. Then ask them how much they want. You'll be very surprised at how much they think they're worth. Then ask them if they'll just put down a hat at the party like they're doing in the street. They'll say no. Ask them why not - they're playing for the hat in the street, why not at your party? Then maybe you'll both understand what I'm talking about.
Saw a lot of this in Europe. One told me, she looks upon it as getting paid to practice. She played the violin. Got her time in on the instrument, and picked up a few marks in the process.
Have to agree with Frogman on this one, Inna. Merely "playing from the heart" does not an artist make. There is SO much more to it than that, that is just the starting point. There are literally millions of people in the world who could play or sing in a heartfelt manner, but could never become a great artist. This is depressingly reminding me of one of the questions I am most asked by patrons of my orchestra I encounter on the street after a performance - "so what do you really do?"
Ted Hawkins, RIP...great soul/folk/blues singer. thankfully he was discovered & recorded some great albums. Try "next hundred years" for a great listen.
Most really good musicians have to work another job to make a living. To criticize them for trying to make a few extra bucks is sad. Most people really have little appreciation for musicians and consider them background music while they talk their fool heads off during the performance.
London tube stations are known for hi quality busking...saw a young girl with acoustic...massive a concert
You'll find lots of street musicians playing in Washington Square Park in NYC. especially on weekends. That says nothing about the quality of their playing-some good, some not so much.