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The Buskers of Melbourne: Des Kennedy Blues Utopia

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by Kirra Draper (subscribe)
Sharp, witty and clever, Kirra Draper has been a published freelance writer from the tender age of sixteen, and nothing will stop her from continuing her writing. Nothing at all. Not even the impending Zombie Apocalypse. Especially not that.
Published May 27th 2012
Des Kennedy
Des Kennedy performing on Burke St

You hear Des Kennedy's music before you see him.

The soulful hum of a blues harmonica echoes down Bourke Street, carrying over car horns, stomping feet and other busy city sounds. But as you walk uphill, beside flocked tram stops where the crowds of busy shoppers and businessmen begin to thin and part, you see a man perched comfortably on a seat, harmonica in his hand, playing like nothing else matters.

Kennedy doesn't draw much of a crowd, but you can tell all ears are on him. Hundreds of busy people walk past, and I note that most, if not all, are compelled to turn a head towards the source of the music. Kennedy plays a low and steady blues beat, content to just play at his own casual pace before throwing in a wildcard and suddenly changing the tempo to a faster upbeat using a series of twists and turns, sliding the harmonica across his lips.

How does he do that?" a middle aged Russian man asks me, as we stand amongst the small crowd watching the show. "Amazing!" This man stood watching and listening for a good half hour.

Kennedy's CDs are stacked in an open suitcase beside him, available for purchase at $25 each, or two for $40.

I sell about 1000 CDs a year from busking alone," says Kennedy. "I've been doing this for about five years now."

But I can't help wondering, like so many other spectators, if the effort of bringing in and setting up all that gear: the microphone, the amp, the CDs and the instruments, is worth it for the offhand chance that someone might purchase the music, or at least toss a handful of loose change in an old hat. What is it that gives street performers like Des Kennedy the drive to do something like that?

I just love playing music," says Kennedy. "If you love what you're doing it's better than having a real job."

If you're out on the streets of the CBD and you hear Des Kennedy belting out a blues beat on his harmonica, stop and have a listen and you'll see what all the fuss is about.

For more information on Des Kennedy's music:

Des Kennedy's official website - Bluesutopia

Youtube Channel - Bluesutopia

Facebook Page - Des Kennedy- Blues Utopia
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Why? Buskers of Melbourne
Where: Bourke Street
Your Comment
Fantistic I love this interview!!
by absol (score: 0|2) 3104 days ago
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